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'Dreams of the Fallen': A Memorial Day tribute to U.S. military heroes

The American flag stands in the grass with a looming sunset. Aaron Burden/Unsplash
59min : Dreams of the Fallen

Dreams of the Fallen seeks to recognize and memorialize through music and poetry those who have protected our country — often at great sacrifice — from before its founding to the present.

From "Taps" to many film scores and folk songs, conflict and memory have inspired some of the greatest music in history. This special draws from a broad variety of composers and styles, linking them with the spoken remembrances of soldiers, veterans, and poetry to help unify and console.

The special's title is taken from its centerpiece, a short masterwork by young American composer Jake Runestad, Dreams of the Fallen. The work sets the poetry of Iraq war veteran Brian Turner and features pianist Jeffrey Biegel and the choir VocalEssence.

Click the audio player above to listen now to this tribute to U.S. military heroes.


Part 1
• Daniel Butterfield (orch. Thomas Knox): Taps
The United States Marine Band; John R. Bourgeois, director

• William Steffe/Julia Ward Howe (arr. Peter Wilhousky): The Battle Hymn of the Republic
The Boston Pops Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus; John Williams, conductor

• Walter Kittredge (arr. Jacqueline Schwab): Tenting on the Old Camp Ground
Jacqueline Schwab, piano

• Traditional (arr. Mark O'Connor): Soldier's Joy
Mark O'Connor, violin; Jerry Douglas, dobro; John Jarvis, piano; Russ Barenberg, guitar; Mark Schatz, banjo; John Mock, pennywhistle

• Traditional, African-American (arr. Craig Hella Johnson): Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
Conspirare; Craig Hella Johnson, conductor; Melissa Givens, soprano

Part 2 • Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, "From the New World" II. Largo
The Cleveland Orchestra; George Szell, conductor

Part 3 • Jake Runestad (text: Brian Turner): Dreams of the Fallen
VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and Chorus; Jeffrey Biegel, piano; the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; Phillip Brunelle, conductor

• Franz Biebl: Ave Maria
Chanticleer and Cantus

• Tim Takach: Luceat Eis

• Nick Glennie-Smith (text: Randall Wallace): Mansions of the Lord
The United States Military Academy Glee Club

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