I recently read two books on World War II bombing, one of England bombing Germany and the other of Germany bombing London. Assessing the morality of area- bombing Germany combined with learning the personal impact of the Blitz on Londoners makes for compelling if sometimes scary reading. But these books didn't prepare me for hearing A Dirge by George Antheil for the first time. The choral text is from Shelley:
Deep caves and dreary main,
Wail! for the world's wrong.
But the piano accompaniment is even darker.
Kyle Gann just commented on another work I, at least, find distressing -- Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima:
And was his Threnody, penned at 26, anything more than a frisson of novel sounds?