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

BBC Music Magazine - - Contents -

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

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