First of all, thank you to Mr. Dunn for a thoughtful and comprehensive
post. It is a difficult subject which he handled most eloquently.
On September 11, 2001 I was riding to my Manhattan on the Long Island
Railroad as any other day. The engineer came on the loudspeaker as we
approached the City and said, "Look at the Trade Center." I looked out
the window and saw Tower one with the smoke billowing from it. As most
others I thought, "a tragic accident" and made a mental note to call my
sister-in-law, who worked in Tower two when I reached my office.
I walked quickly to my desk and started to fumble through my rolodex for
Karen's number. Then the phone rang: "Ray, this is Karen." With those
words, I knew immediately all I needed to know.
Needless to say, Karen did not come home that day. For weeks after
it I could listen to no music at all. Then, one day I dared to put on
the Mozart Requiem (Celibidache, Munich, 1987). That was the work which
spoke to me, and perhaps the performance as well. I dare say no more
for my objectivity is questionable, to say the least, but I found a great
deal of comfort in that performance.
I have uploaded a performance of the Beethoven Funeral March from the
Eroica given at the September 11, 2001 Proms. Christoph Eschenbach is
rather touching in his announcement of the tragedy and, if the performance
is somewhat lacking in symphonic strength and coherence, it is a moving
tribute to those heroes who fell on that fateful day given just hours
after the attacks. And please remember, all were heroes -- the firefighters,
the police, my sister-in-law, everyone.
I have also uploaded, for those of you who are old enough to remember,
another instance where the Beethoven Funeral March was used as a memorial
to a fallen hero.
In loving memory of Karen Helene Schmidt