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Noon Edition


This week, we pay tribute to the composers who paid tribute to others. It's a show all about musical tributes, tombeaus, elegies, and memorials that we're calling "Epitaph"!

Did you know...

  • John AdamsOn The Transmigration Of Souls is not an elegy, but a "memory space" for the victims of the September 11th attacks, incorporating original music for orchestra and choir, with pre-recorded street sounds, and the names of victims.
  • The "tombeau" was an entire genre in the 17th century, solo pieces for lute or viol commemorating someone, usually a composer. Marin Marais wrote many tombeaux, including one for his teacher Jean de Saint-Colombe. Centuries later, Maurice Ravel would write a tombeau for 17th-century French composer François Couperin (as well as his friends who died in World War I).
  • Estonian composer Arvo Pärt wrote his Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten for one of the only contemporary composers he admired-although he never got to meet him!
  • Igor Stravinsky wrote works commemorating many important figures, including poet Dylan Thomas, author Aldous Huxley, JFK, painter Raoul Dufy, and Renaissance madrigalist Carlo Gesualdo.
  • "The Late Great Johnny Ace," a song by Paul Simon, was written for John Lennon, but also mentions the deaths of other Johns, including R&B singer Johnny Ace and John F. Kennedy. The song's coda was written by composer Philip Glass.

See the full playlist below:

And don't forget to check out our podcast for this week's episode, featuring another "Epitaph" work!

Music Heard On This Episode

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