Funeral music

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barney
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Funeral music

Post by barney » Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:27 am

Brian and I have got distracted into a discussion of possible music to be played at our funerals. Brian mentioned how sublime is the slow movement of the Schubert string quintet, and I replied:
Just so, Brian. As I have probably said before - at my age you forget such things - I have yet to decide between the slow movements of the string quintet or Emperor piano concerto for my funeral music. Perhaps I can work in both. It should help people remember me fondly, which they otherwise might not do! :lol:
He replied:
Oh, my!

Barney, I've got a CD with 80 minutes of favorite heart-tugging moments from my collection that will probably be played at the end of my life. Here's the list. Note that I cite specific recordings which are my personal favorite interpretations:

1) Franz Schmidt: Intermezzo from "Notre Dame" Herbert von Karajan/Berlin

2) Beethoven String Quartet #135, arr. for string orchestra, Lento: Bernstein/Vienna

3) Elgar String Quartet Op. 84: Adagio: Maggini Quartet w/Peter Donohue

4) Novak: Slavak Suite Op. 32, Mvt. 1 (V Kostele (In the Castle): Jiri Starek cond. Rundfunk Orchester Sudewstfunks (Southwest German Radio Orchestra)

5) Suk: Serenade Mvt. 3 (Adagio): Pesek/Czech Philharmonic

6) Miaskovsky: Cello Concerto Op. 66, Mvt. I (Lento): Rostropovich/Sargent

7) Pfitzner: Palestrina, Act I Prelude: Thielemann/Berlin Opera Orchestra

8: Magnard: Chant funebre: Plasson/Toulouse

I put this CD together about 20+ years ago solely because I loved the music, but as my ending draws ever closer, I have begun to contemplate how it might serve another use that I did not contemplate then.
Brian, what a fascinating list. Hardly anything well known, all deeply personal. A lot of Slavic music. You mentioned the Elgar in the context of your favourite chamber music.

I have to confess, I have a funeral music file on my computer that probably no one will find which right now has about 16 hours of music. I haven't culled it: people will enter, the doors will be shut and locked, and purgatory will begin!

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:29 am

PS: that is the half dozen who can't get out of coming to my funeral: wife, children, grandchildren. They should have listened to more classical with me when I was alive - now they'll pay! (fiendish chuckle)

maestrob
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Re: Funeral music

Post by maestrob » Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:45 am

barney wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:29 am
PS: that is the half dozen who can't get out of coming to my funeral: wife, children, grandchildren. They should have listened to more classical with me when I was alive - now they'll pay! (fiendish chuckle)
Oh, my! Aren't we morbid this morning? :lol:

Coming from a background of religious studies, Barney, I imagine this topic is easier for you to deal with than most others here.

As for me, I plan on living to 116, like the French nun who recovered from covid that I posted about a while back, unless God interferes unexpectedly. :wink:

What's that you say about the best-laid plans of mice & men?

Rach3
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Re: Funeral music

Post by Rach3 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:03 am

maestrob wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:45 am
Oh, my! Aren't we morbid this morning? :lol:
"Start every day off with a smile and get it over with." WC Fields

diegobueno
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Re: Funeral music

Post by diegobueno » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:07 am

The most moving funeral music I've heard is Messiaen's "Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus" that was played at the memorial service for a musician friend in Ithaca, New York, who was killed in a car accident on the way to a gig.

Maybe Lance remembers her. Lance, do you remember Wendy Maraniss?

Maybe I should say it the other way around: I was never moved by Messiaen's finale to his Quartet for the End of Time as deeply as I was hearing it in that context. The musician being memorialized was a very gifted pianist and very much in demand in the local classical music scene. Her service drew a who's-who of Ithaca musicians, all of them in a state of shock at her sudden loss. There was a high level of intensity of feeling at this event which was driven to an even higher level by the intensity of Messiaen's music.
Black lives matter.

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:10 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:07 am
The most moving funeral music I've heard is Messiaen's "Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus" that was played at the memorial service for a musician friend in Ithaca, New York, who was killed in a car accident on the way to a gig.

Maybe Lance remembers her. Lance, do you remember Wendy Maraniss?

Maybe I should say it the other way around: I was never moved by Messiaen's finale to his Quartet for the End of Time as deeply as I was hearing it in that context. The musician being memorialized was a very gifted pianist and very much in demand in the local classical music scene. Her service drew a who's-who of Ithaca musicians, all of them in a state of shock at her sudden loss. There was a high level of intensity of feeling at this event which was driven to an even higher level by the intensity of Messiaen's music.
Hardly surprising that it was loaded with emotion in that context, Mark. But a most interesting choice, and - if I may say so without sounding patronising - an excellent one. By that I mean thoroughly appropriate,but not one I would have thought of. I haven't heard that quartet since a 2009 concert; I must put it on the CD player. Thanks for the tip.

Lance
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Re: Funeral music

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:07 pm

Hello Mark, no, I don't remember her, but I certainly remember hearing her name. I was familiar with many musicians in Ithaca - still am. But your note was so touching that I had to investigate her further. Some may be interested to learn he sad story of passing at only 42. Here's a link:
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/922 ... y-maraniss
diegobueno wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:07 am
The most moving funeral music I've heard is Messiaen's "Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus" that was played at the memorial service for a musician friend in Ithaca, New York, who was killed in a car accident on the way to a gig.

Maybe Lance remembers her. Lance, do you remember Wendy Maraniss?

Maybe I should say it the other way around: I was never moved by Messiaen's finale to his Quartet for the End of Time as deeply as I was hearing it in that context. The musician being memorialized was a very gifted pianist and very much in demand in the local classical music scene. Her service drew a who's-who of Ithaca musicians, all of them in a state of shock at her sudden loss. There was a high level of intensity of feeling at this event which was driven to an even higher level by the intensity of Messiaen's music.
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Lance
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Re: Funeral music

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:04 pm

Speaking of our own preferred funeral music, I must tell a story. One of my choices would also be by Messiaen, particularly movement 15 from Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus, "Le basier de l'Enfant-Jésus" [The Kiss of the infant Jesus].

Perhaps I told this story on CMG before, but this subject brings it back to mind. I prepared a piano for a solo recital by Walter Ponce, our artist-in-residence at Binghamton University. As always, I sat in the audience listening to the performance while all the while paying close attention to the piano's qualities. Suddenly, all the lights in the auditorium came down to nothing, and there were no stage lights on the artist or the piano. Then Ponce began playing "Le basier de l'Enfant-Jésus" in total darkness. What an experience and impression this left on the entire audience. I never heard a pin drop during the entire length of this movement, about 12 minutes.

Of course, there would also be some of Schubert's string chamber music and some other things.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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david johnson
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Re: Funeral music

Post by david johnson » Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:04 am

This is a darkly interesting thread. I'll be pleased with the singing of "What Wondrous Love" and "Amazing Grace" at my farewell...followed with a New Orleans jazz band procession to the cemetery.

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:25 am

Hymns: I'll have Thine Be the Glory to Handel's setting ( we as did at our wedding), and probably Abide With Me. I won't have When Peace Like a River because it is my favourite hymn to sing, and I won't be able to sing it. I think there's another 20 or so on my list. :D

Ricordanza
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Re: Funeral music

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:16 am

Some of the commenters in this thread propose that recorded music be played at their funerals. As for me, no way--it's got to be live! I would probably continue a family tradition (if two funerals can be said to comprise a tradition): At the funerals for my uncle Allan and his wife, Rhoda, a violinist played the Meditation from Massenet's "Thais."

This works for a number of reasons. First, it's relatively short, so it won't challenge the limited attention span of my survivors, most of whom are not classical music fans. Second, every violinist knows this piece, so it shouldn't be too much trouble for my son or other survivor to hire someone to play this. Finally, although my first love is the piano, having a piano piece played at the funeral would involve securing a piano as well as a pianist.

Lance
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Re: Funeral music

Post by Lance » Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:25 pm

Well, my first love is the piano as well. So at my own funeral, I would like to have the best available concert grand, tune it before my "viewing," just to make sure everything is perfect. (Now we know that can't possibly happen, but that's what dreams are for, yes?) And perhaps the ghost of Rubinstein, Horowitz or Moiseiwitsch will appear at the piano and perform. [And yes, I do watch the Travel Channel and those paranormal shows. Where else would I get these ideas?]
Ricordanza wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:16 am
[Edited ... ... ...]
Finally, although my first love is the piano, having a piano piece played at the funeral would involve securing a piano as well as a pianist.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:21 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:16 am
Some of the commenters in this thread propose that recorded music be played at their funerals. As for me, no way--it's got to be live! I would probably continue a family tradition (if two funerals can be said to comprise a tradition): At the funerals for my uncle Allan and his wife, Rhoda, a violinist played the Meditation from Massenet's "Thais."

This works for a number of reasons. First, it's relatively short, so it won't challenge the limited attention span of my survivors, most of whom are not classical music fans. Second, every violinist knows this piece, so it shouldn't be too much trouble for my son or other survivor to hire someone to play this. Finally, although my first love is the piano, having a piano piece played at the funeral would involve securing a piano as well as a pianist.
Yes, this is an important point. You are right of course. Live music is utterly essential. Professional musicians played at my father's funeral and my mother's (both of whom were also professional musicians), and we've had live music at two other immediate family funerals. A friend at the Melbourne SO has promised she and four friends will play Schubert's string quintet slow movement live at my funeral if I predecease her (which definitely seems likely). My mother had a soprano sing An die Musik beautifully, and that is another possibility for me. We'd have to hire one, though.
And any hymns are also live music. But there will still be recorded music.

maestrob
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Re: Funeral music

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:44 am

Totally agree, Barney & Ricordanza, about live music.

We had our wedding at Riverside Church, in the main chapel where Dr. King often sermonized during the 1960's. Our organist played his final event there before departing to be the organist for the Chicago Symphony, and we invited two soloists, one from the MET, Iris Hiskey, and another from NYCO, Mara Worth, who sang appropriate lieder by Schubert & Schumann.

Barney, your idea of the Schubert movement resonates with me, as would the Andante sostenuto of his D960 Sonata. I'm quite sure that a quick phone call to Juilliard would produce some very fine players for the String Quintet, for example. I've hired pianists from there who were consistently excellent. Also, Regina Yakobtsiner, Gergiev's former Assistant Conductor at the Kirov, who was my pianist for a decade or so in Carnegie Hall, is still quite active at Princeton and might be available.

Thankfully, we have time to make plans.

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:33 pm

True Brian. But the opportunities in New York are, obviously, exceptional. Melbourne is not bad - the Australian National Academy of Music is here and, as I said, I could rely on Melbourne Symphony Orchestra friends.

Really, I should have my funeral while I'm alive, so I can enjoy it. :lol:

Lance
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Re: Funeral music

Post by Lance » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:24 pm

Barney, you really cracked me up with your last statement. If you figure out how to accomplish that, please share it with me. I needed a laff today, too. And if you expire before me, and need piano prepared for your "event," I will come and prepare it for free; all I ask as that you pay for my flight and lodging.
barney wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:33 pm
True Brian. But the opportunities in New York are, obviously, exceptional. Melbourne is not bad - the Australian National Academy of Music is here and, as I said, I could rely on Melbourne Symphony Orchestra friends.

Really, I should have my funeral while I'm alive, so I can enjoy it. :lol:
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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mikealdren
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Re: Funeral music

Post by mikealdren » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:03 am

At Peter Sellers' funeral they played Glen Miller's "in the mood" as the coffin was surrounded by the final curtain. It was a piece all the goons hated and they laughed as Sellers left this world to the piece he hated most. Many of the mourners were surprised and thought he must have loved the piece - his final joke.

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:22 am

Lance wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:24 pm
Barney, you really cracked me up with your last statement. If you figure out how to accomplish that, please share it with me. I needed a laff today, too. And if you expire before me, and need piano prepared for your "event," I will come and prepare it for free; all I ask as that you pay for my flight and lodging.
barney wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:33 pm
True Brian. But the opportunities in New York are, obviously, exceptional. Melbourne is not bad - the Australian National Academy of Music is here and, as I said, I could rely on Melbourne Symphony Orchestra friends.

Really, I should have my funeral while I'm alive, so I can enjoy it. :lol:
Lance, it's a deal. I certainly want a piano and not some sort of electronic keyboard. That would be heresy of the sort Mike refers to above.

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:22 am

mikealdren wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:03 am
At Peter Sellers' funeral they played Glen Miller's "in the mood" as the coffin was surrounded by the final curtain. It was a piece all the goons hated and they laughed as Sellers left this world to the piece he hated most. Many of the mourners were surprised and thought he must have loved the piece - his final joke.
What a lovely story. I hadn't heard that. And a very fitting finale!

maestrob
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Re: Funeral music

Post by maestrob » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:30 am

barney wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:33 pm
True Brian. But the opportunities in New York are, obviously, exceptional. Melbourne is not bad - the Australian National Academy of Music is here and, as I said, I could rely on Melbourne Symphony Orchestra friends.

Really, I should have my funeral while I'm alive, so I can enjoy it. :lol:
8) :lol:

Barney! Thank you for that!

Just think, you might start a trend...

It's true. With all the preparations we make, we won't be there in person to enjoy the party!

I've also thought of several singers who won in my competition and made fine careers, like Robin Johannsen & Lisa Daltirus, and others featured on my private gold CDs. I'll have to think about how to do this, but I'd like to invite two of them to sing both the Schubert and the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria at appropriate times during the service, with generous compensation both for their time and travel expenses, of course. Since we got married in the main chapel of Riverside Church, that venue would surely be appropriate.

Perhaps, Lance, you'll be there in person to sound the last trumpet!

It'll be a busy schedule! :wink:

barney
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Re: Funeral music

Post by barney » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:49 pm

Quite a promotion for Lance, Brian. Isn't the last trumpet sounded by an archangel? :lol:

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