On War

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What does war sound like in music? The place to start must, of course, be “Mars” the God of War from Holst’s The Planets.

Holst: “Mars” from The Planets

And in cinematic music that has found a place in the concert hall, there is of course Star Wars by John Williams (with some noticeable similarities to Holst!).

Williams: Star Wars

However, war has inspired a wide range of music in many styles. This section of the website takes a chronological musical journey through war in classical music from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. Classical music is defined here simply as instrumental or choral music for the concert hall following the conventions of classical performance (a passive audience, a conductor for choral/orchestral works, instruments are not amplified, formal dress code for performers, and so on).

The focus is global, although I have sought to include as many examples of Japanese classical music as possible. Film music has been included when performances have clearly crossed over into the classical music world.

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