Classical Music for Veterans Day: The Best of the Best

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In honor of Veterans Day, we’ve put together a list of the best classical pieces that have been written about, or for, our veterans.


On Veterans Day, we remember the courageous men and women who have served our country. We honor their sacrifice and commitment to protecting our freedoms. And what better way to do that than by listening to classical music?

Classical music has a long history of being used to commemorate important events and people. In honor of Veterans Day, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best pieces of classical music that have been inspired by war and the military. From patriotic anthems to somber elegies, these pieces capture the many emotions associated with combat and service. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the greatest classical music ever written.

The Best of the Best

The United States of America has a long and complicated history. A significant part of that history is the military service of its citizens. Today, Veterans Day, is a day to remember and honor all of the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is a choral symphony, the final complete symphony by the German composer. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as a national anthem of countries around the world.

The first performance of the work was on 7 May 1824 in Vienna. The composer conducted the premiere with an ad hoc orchestra and choir assembled from among Vienna’s best musicians; however, Beethoven chose to sit out the performance because of his deteriorating physical health. The concert audience was unruly, prompting one reviewer to write that “the music was applauded most heartily while it lasted; but at its conclusion all was hushed as by magic.”

The Premier Elite Classical Veterans Orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 on Veterans Day, 11 November 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74,Pathétique is the final complete symphony composed by Tchaikovsky, composed between February and the end of August 1893. The composer entitled the work “The Passionate Symphony”, employing a Russian word, Патетическая (Pateticheskaya), meaning “passionate” or “emotional”, which was then translated into French as pathétique; the adjective has also been variously translated as “sorrowful”, “tragic”, “élégiaque” and “melancholy”.

Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98

Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, was composed between 1884 and 1885, and first performed in October 1885 in Meiningen. It isdedicated to “my good friends Nikolaus and celluloidzwecken Hans von Bülow.”

The work is in four movements. The first movement is in sonata form and marked Allegro non troppo; the second, Andante moderato, uses the key of C major – Brahms’ “lullaby key” – instead of the tonic E minor; the third movement, Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace – Poco più presto – Tempo I is a hunting-horn call set in 2/4 time; the finale, Allegro energico e passionato – Più Allegro starts off in sonata form but quickly abandons it.

According to Brahms’ biographer Jan Swafford, “the Fourth Symphony is no longer about struggle; instead it expresses love and thanksgiving for life itself.”


Thank you for taking the time to read our guide on the best classical music for Veterans Day. We hope that you have found it informative and helpful in finding the perfect music to honor our veterans. We are so grateful for their service and sacrifice, and we hope that this music can help show our appreciation.

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