Music for Remembering Those We Have Lost in Wars and to Covid-19 | St. Lawrence University Chaplain's Office

Music for Remembering Those We Have Lost in Wars and to Covid-19

Remembering those who contributed to our personal and national history gives us a guide for our future. By remembering we are grounded in the values of our ancestors as we move towards our own contributions. Each of us has an important role for the future. What will it be? 

Gerald Finzi, British composer of mostly string chamber music and vocal repertoire, leads us in calm reflection with just a small bit of tension with his useful dissonances. 

Alan Ridout was the British composer and professor selected to transcribe the ‘Prelude’ from a beautiful string setting to the quiet, meditative opening of this recording. 

Recognized as an English composer, violist and conductor, Frank Bridge wrote few works for organ. The most famous is the ‘Adagio in E Major’ with its beautiful melody interwoven throughout. The tensions created in the music occur by changing tone colors and slight tempo changes. Bridge’s student Benjamin Britten believed that Bridge taught in the best way possible by helping the student set goals and supporting the student’s growth. 

‘Adagio for Strings’ is one of the most recognized of Samuel Barber’s oeuvre. Written for orchestra, we hear it on this recording as arranged by William Strickland, noted conductor and organist, with the lush harmonies of the Romantic era and the beautiful lyricism of its unforgettable melody. This composition is often played during national days of mourning and days of remembrance. 

Sergei Rachmaninov was a virtuoso pianist, composer and conductor. Sources say that he is the last truly great composer in the Russian Romantic tradition. He and his family moved from Russia to the United States in 1918 where he spent most of his time earning a living by playing and conducting concerts. The passion of the beautiful melody of ‘Vocalise’ draws us inward, ever closer, to the intensity of the music. 

New England born, German trained Dudley Buck was the most performed choral composer in the 1880’s, a pedagogue and a touring organist. After training in Europe, he moved to Chicago, then to New York City where he continued to create large choral works. At a concert in New York City, he played the beginning of the concert in the traditional style, then debuted his setting of ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ People were very enthusiastic about the different settings of the variations. 

E. Power Biggs was a British born American concert organist and recording artist. In 1930 Biggs moved to the United States and by 1932 had settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he lived the rest of his life. His output of organ recordings is unmatched. Biggs led the drive for a return to the Baroque era style organs. 

Each of the composers, arrangers, and editor on this program represent the best in their skills. As we remember our ancestors, let us give all people the honor which they deserve and pledge to always remember their contributions. It is how we learn – by remembering and building upon the past. 

- Sondra Goldsmith Proctor 


Virtual Recital with Abigail Evans '20 (violin) and Sondra Goldsmith Proctor (organ). Recorded in Gunnison Memorial Chapel and the Proctor/Van Epps Studio.

Prelude Gerald Finzi (1901-1956) arranged by Alan Ridout (1934-1996) 

Three Pieces for Organ Adagio in E major Frank Bridge (1879-1941)

Adagio for Strings Samuel Barber (1910-1981) arranged by William Strickland (1914-1991) 

Vocalise Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) 

The Star Spangled Banner Concert Variations Dudley Buck (1839-1900) Edited by E. Power Biggs (1906-1977)


Variation I 

Poco vivace 

Allegro non troppo 

Minore adagio 

Fughetta: Allegro assai


Prelude, Three Pieces for Organ


Adagio for Strings

The Star Spangled Banner