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What piece of music do you think best captures death?


jejrekmek
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Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor.  I remembering first hearing this and having such a sense of foreboding, as if it were the essence of an Edgar Allen Poe story set to music.  I then later learned that it was inspired by a dream Rachmaninoff had where he was at a funeral and as he approached the coffin, he began feeling more and more terrified and anxious until he finally sees who is in it... him of course!  So my initial impression was right after all.

 

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Strauss' Death and Transfiguration. the initial sighing figure imitating the dying man's breath is especially striking. The piece isn't overly dark to the point of caricature, like many other admittedly great pieces. It feels, to me, more realistic and human in the emotions and situations that it depicts.

And if you like it, watch this.

 

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  • 8 months later...

Mahler, Symphony No. 10, in particular movement 5.

m.337, or 1:12:00 exactly in the below recording, is pure catharsis, but given the context, the relief you feel is a very tragic relief. At least for me, I get the sense that the entire fifth movement is just someone dying, and this moment of release is when they finally come to terms with it.

 

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  • 4 months later...

I was in two minds about responding on this topic but since Tónskáld has mentioned Sibelius, the one work that I feel captures death is Sibelius' Valse Triste. 

I once did a piano arrangement of it. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The opening kirye from Bach's Mass in B Minor.

This is my favorite recording:

Just 10 minutes straight of the most beautiful counterpoint non-stop. In my opinion, Bach's best liturgical work. Impossible not to get emotional... I was actually coinccidentally listening to this piece the first time I saw a dead body so I actually associate it with death a lot. The unexpected major ending pictures perfectly someone ascending to heaven.

Edited by Rômulo Mello
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