The Wound-Dresser and Other Works in Response to War

May 25, 2024, 4:00 pm

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Black and white Civil War era photograph showing deserted camp and wounded soldier.
Scene showing deserted camp and wounded soldier. Mathew Benjamin Brady, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

John Adams’s The Wound-Dresser takes as its text Walt Whitman’s poem of the same title from  a collection of poems about the Civil War, published in 1865. During the war, Whitman assumed the task of visiting the sick and wounded soldiers crowding the hospitals. “The Wound-Dresser,” says Adams, “is the most intimate, most graphic, and most profoundly affecting evocation of the act of nursing the sick and dying that I know of. ” In this Memorial Day weekend episode, we listen to John Adams’s setting of The Wound-Dresser and other works that respond to a time of war.


Gerald Finzi: Farewell to Arms, Op. 9
James Gilchrist, tenor
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
David Hill, conductor

John Adams: The Wound-Dresser
Nathan Gunn, baritone
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor

Edward Elgar arr. John Cameron: “Lux Aeterna” after “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations 

Benjamin Britten: Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14
Martyn Hill, tenor
London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Richard Hickox, conductor