ORCHESTRAL music has been written for all sorts of occasions,
from the joyous to the tragic. Handel's Music for the
Royal Fireworks was composed for a pyrotechnic display in
London's Green Park in 1749. Few may realise it was
intended to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle, but many still pop champagne corks to
On a more sombre note, consider the memorial written by US
composer John Adams to honour the victims of the September
11, 2001, terrorist attacks. On the Transmigration of Souls was
performed by the New York Philharmonic soon after the first
anniversary of the tragedy.
But how to write a symphony that will commemorate a historically
important but otherwise prosaic ...