Rest in piece
Where are the final resting places of the great composers? We embark on a tour of some of the most remarkable graves
Our guided tour of some of the finest composer graves
From unadorned stones set in the grass to abstract artworks, composers’ graves range from the simple to the sublime. Their memorials and tombs have become sites of pilgrimage, where listeners flock to pay their respects to their heroes. Many of the greats, especially those such as Schubert or Beethoven who lived in the European capitals, have been buried in vast public cemeteries, while others have been interred within more private, sometimes quite eccentric surroundings. ★ere, then, is a collection of 11 of the most memorable places where our finest composers have been laid to eternal rest.
Grave concerns: (clockwise from far left) William Walton’s ashes are in the gardens of La Mortella, which his wife Lady Susanna cultivated on the Italian island of Ischia; Arnold Schoenberg is one of the many composers interred in the Vienna Central Cemetery; Cecil Frederic Coles’s epitaph in Crouy Cemetery in the Somme describes him as a ‘hero of the first water’, meaning of the highest quality; Peter Warlock’s Godalming gravestone before its restoration in 2005; the letter ‘Z’ was the inspiration for Zemlinsky’s striking Vienna headstone; lines of Borodin’s own music appear on his memorial at Tikhvin, St Petersburg
Memorial notes: (clockwise from above left) a fan of Carlos Gardel, the ‘king of tango’, at his grave in Buenos Aires; a solid glass block and 3D lasers were used to create Ligeti’s headstone; Johann Strauss II is celebrated in opulent fashion in Vienna; Bernstein is buried in New York with a score of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony; Grieg’s ashes are set into a cliff facing the lake near his Troldhaugen home in Norway