Classical Music for Funerals – 10 examples 0

classical music for funerals

Music has become an important part of modern funeral services and those organising a memorial service will often spend a great deal of time deciding what songs to play. While many go with a contemporary pop song, others might have a particular hymn that seems appropriate. However, one of the most popular options is a piece of classical music. Stirring and emotive, these ten suggestions represent some of the most popular compositions of classical music for funerals.

Be sure to discuss music with your chosen funeral director.

 

The Lark Ascending – Vaughan Williams

Inspired by George Meredith’s poem of the same name, The Lark Ascending is a beautifully nostalgic piece of music that’s often used to say goodbye to dearly missed friends and family. Supposedly composed as Williams watched soldiers board the boats that would ferry them across to France at the outbreak of the First World War, the song is most notable for its powerful violin solo and its reputation as one of the British public’s favourite pieces of classical music.

 

Largo (Xerxes) – George Frideric Handel

Though not greeted with critical acclaim at the time of its creation, Handel’s Largo is now an increasingly popular composition that seems to have found its place amongst the greats of the genre. Part of a larger operatic series based on the story of the Persian emperor Xerxes I, the Largo aria has become a much admired piece of music centred around the theme of love and is regularly played at memorial services.

 

Song for Athene – John Tavener

Performed at the funeral of Princess Diana, this beautiful choral arrangement has found its way into the public consciousness and is now regularly sung or played at funerals around the country. Written following the death of a young Greek friend in a cycling accident, Tavener incorporated elements of the Greek Orthodox tradition into the composition to create a moving memorial to life lost.

 

Adagietto (Symphony No. 5) – Gustav Mahler

Adagietto is the fourth movement from Mahler’s most famous work, Symphony No. 5. Reportedly inspired by the composer’s love for his wife Alma, it was written after Mahler was confronted with his own mortality when he suffered from a large haemorrhage and was sent to the countryside to recuperate. This comes across in the music, and makes it especially suitable as a piece of classical music for funerals.

 

Ave maria – Franz Schubert

One of Schubert’s most renowned pieces, Ave Maria draws from Arthurian legend, a poem by Sir Walter Scott and the picturesque Austrian landscape. Though the title may suggest it’s a devotional piece of music, it actually concerns a young girl named Ellen, who is the protagonist in Scott’s poem. Its calm and melancholic composition make it a powerful choice for any funeral service. Tenor Luigi Vena performed the piece at the funeral of American President John F Kennedy, following his assassination.

 

Pavane – Gabriel Fauré

For a long time, this gentle composition has been associated with feminine grace and beauty, and consequently, it is often employed as a fitting tribute to those important women in our lives. Supposedly intended as a musical tribute to his father, who had passed away three years before work on the piece began, it is marked by some of the greatest melodies Fauré ever committed to paper, and is a popular choice of classical music for funerals.

 

Fur Elise – Ludwig van Beethoven

Instantly recognisable, this incredible piano composition is still used in funeral services across the country, despite it now being over 200 years old. Though the identity of the titular Elise remains a mystery, there is little doubt that this is a powerful piece of music that is capable of generating great emotion.

 

Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor – Sergei Rachmaninoff

While its length would usually require specific segments of the song to be chosen for a funeral service, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is an extremely melancholic composition that’s famous for bringing tears to a listener’s eyes. If you want to remember a loved one with a powerful, emotive piece of classical music, this would be a good choice for any memorial service.

 

Adagio Lamentoso (Symphony No. 6) – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The final part of Tchaikovsky’s last completed symphony, this composition was first performed just nine days before the death of the composer and is now strongly associated with ideas of death and dying. Whether such interpretations of the work hold any credence is a matter of debate, but this hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most popular pieces of classical music for funerals.

 

Cantata No. 208, Sheep May Safely Graze – Johann Sebastian Bach

This peaceful composition gives those gathered at a funeral a moment to collect their thoughts and remember the deceased. Though actually a secular composition, its references to sheep and shepherds also have religious connotations, making it an apt choice for both religious and non-religious services.

 

While these ten pieces of music are among the best known examples of classical music for funerals, remember that there are no rules. Generally, people expect emotive and reflective pieces of music, though it’s absolutely acceptable for you to choose something that the deceased loved.

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Catholic Funeral Customs 0

catholic funeral customs

The Catholic Church is one of oldest religious institutions in the world and boasts a worldwide following of around 1.29 billion people. It has had a major impact on western thought, society, culture and politics, and has shaped the way many individuals think about death. Here, we take a look at the religion’s beliefs concerning death and explore the Catholic funeral customs.

Many of our funeral directors cater for Catholic funeral services. Find and contact a funeral director near you today.

Catholic beliefs

Catholics believe that each person’s soul is immortal and that, at the moment of death, the body and soul separate. While the body, devoid of the spirit that animated it, begins to decompose, the soul is taken to be judged by God. It is then either granted eternal life in Heaven or damned to an eternity in Hell.

However, not all of those granted access to Heaven are quite ready to pass through the pearly gates. Those who have lived a just enough life to reach Heaven but that are still due punishment for some as yet accounted for sin, spend time in Purgatory. Purgatory is a temporary state that purges the soul of sin and fully prepares an individual for Heaven.

catholic funeral customs

Catholic funeral customs

Catholicism maintains its own distinct traditions that differentiate it from other Christian traditions. When death is imminent, a priest is usually called to administer the dying person’s last rites. Traditionally, there are three stages to a Catholic funeral. The vigil – where friends and family gather to watch over the deceased’s body or cremated ashes and pray that their soul reaches heaven. The funeral mass – which takes place at the church and involves the casket or urn being carried to the front of the church and a memorial service led by the local priest. Finally, there is the burial – where the remains of the deceased are taken to their burial place and a priest commits them to the Earth.

Etiquette and other customs

catholic funeral customs

Catholicism is a large and widespread religion that can differ from region to region and that is also open to doctrinal differences. This means that what’s acceptable in a Catholic funeral on one occasion, may not be on another. For instance, in some Catholic communities, cremation is not acceptable. However, in recent years, Catholic religious authorities have shifted their position and many churches won’t have a problem with cremation.

The Catholic Church holds no objection to organ donation, as mainstream religious doctrine supports the idea that once brain function ceases, the soul has departed the body. Likewise, embalming the deceased’s body is common practice if a vigil is to be held and the Church is in no way opposed to embalming.

As a non-Catholic attending a Catholic funeral, you can take part in the entire ceremony but won’t be expected to take Holy Communion, as it’s a practice reserved for those of Catholic faith. After the funeral service, it is common practice for a less formal memorial event to take place at a relative’s home, a pub or another local venue. However, such an event is not a formal part of the service and not all Catholic funerals will end with one.

5 More Things to Do When You Retire 0

write your memoirs

While some reach retirement and wish to put their feet up and enjoy a well-earned break, others like to seek new enthralling experiences. Regardless of which camp you fall into, the chances are that they’ll be a number of things you’ve always wanted to try, or to return to. So if you’re retired, or are on the verge of retirement, and are seeking some inspiration on how you could fill your days, here are 5 more things to do when you retire – following on from on first list which you can find here.

 

Of course you should always give consideration to your own practical needs too, which is why you may want to consider a funeral plan to ensure your family isn’t faced with a financial burden. As the previous selection had an international flavour and involved a lot of travelling and sightseeing, we’ve decided to orientate this one around activities that are a little closer to home.

 

  1. Get active

Though lots of people want to slow down and take things easy when they get to retirement, there are quite a few who take it as opportunity to do a little more physical activity. While work commitments may have prevented you from jogging, swimming, cycling or working out when they were employed, retirement allows you to get active and perhaps tackle some of the physical challenges you didn’t have time for before. Whether it’s training for a half marathon, trying to beat your personal best in the pool or taking up a new sport, there are numerous ways you can work on maintaining your fitness into old age.
get active when you retire

 

  1. Give something back to the community

 

It’s often the case that individuals reach a certain age and feel that they’d like to give something back to the local community. In many cases, they’ve lived and worked in a community that has seen them through the good times and the bad, and, with time on their hands, they’re now in the position to help out. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including helping out with the local junior football team, becoming a Brown Owl in a Brownies group or by volunteering at a social centre.

 

  1. Write your memoirs

One of the activities that appears most frequently on bucket lists is writing a book. While you may or may not have it in you to write an entire work of fiction, you’ll definitely have something to say about your own life. The great thing about writing a memoir is that, even if no one else reads it, you produce a written record of the highs and lows of your life to pass on down to your children and grandchildren.

  1. write your memoirsLearn a foreign language

It’s never too late to learn something new and picking up a language can be one of the most satisfying and enjoyable things you’ll ever do. Whether you just want to get by while on holiday or are aiming for complete fluency, learning another language is life changing in a number of ways. Not only does it radically alter the way you communicate with others, it will also change the way you view your own language.

 

  1. Grow your own food

Finally, many of those yet to reach retirement dream of the day they’ll be able to spend their mornings pottering around their allotment, tending to their plants and vegetables. Growing your own food is an absolute pleasure and is incredibly rewarding. Being able to watch a plant grow all the way from seed to edible vegetable is a fascinating and tasty experience that will keep you beautifully busy for years on end.

grow your own vegetables when you retire