Ideas & Issues

Requiem For Sandy: What Music Gets You Through?

Little Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy. i i

hide captionLittle Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Little Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Little Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

When catastrophe strikes, when lives and livelihoods are lost, we hold tight to family, friends and our deepest beliefs for consolation. We also sometimes turn to music. With its inexpressible power, music can help channel memories, soothe the loss and salve the pain. And it can uplift, reminding us of our resiliency.

What music is appropriate for the aftermath of the hurricane? The answer will be different for everyone touched by Sandy.

After I realized we were going to emerge unscathed, I turned to violin music by a buddy, David Schulman. His album brought the warmth of our friendship into my living room (nerves were soothed) and it helped celebrate a disaster averted.

Some will find comfort in sacred music — perhaps the sturdy choral works by Bach or the kinder, gentler Requiems by Brahms or Fauré. Others may shy away from pieces designed for mourning, instead opting for musical comfort food — old friendly favorites — or perhaps music that simply provides space for reflection.

What have you been listening to in the wake of Sandy (not to mention the stress of the election) — powerful pop songs, intimate string quartets, soaring symphonies or singer-songwriter favorites? Let us know which music provides comfort to you in trying times in our comments section.

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