A Memorial Day Tribute

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

This week on the choral mix, Kent Tritle honors our fallen soldiers with a special Memorial Day program. Among the selections featured this week, we hear exemplary works by Ralph Vaughn Williams and Paul Moravec.

Williams composed Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) in 1936 as his musical response to World War I. The text comes from the poignant writings of Walt Whitman, who voiced his sentiments regarding the Civil War through poetry. The programmatic score brings to life the events and sounds of war, and the many emotions one experiences. From the boisterous trumpets and percussions depicting bugle and drum corps, to the ethereal vocal writing, the anguish caused by such events is profoundly expressed.
 
Paul Moravec's Songs of Love and War are settings of letters of American servicemen and their loved ones. Dearest Rowland is based on a letter by Marjorie Gaunt, a wife of a serviceman fighting in World War II. At the time of writing this final testament of love, it was unknown to Marjorie that her beloved Rowland, had recently died in battle. Also from Songs of Love, Don't Ask is based on a text by New Yorker, Private George Jay Robinson. In Robinson's letter he wrote. "Don't ask questions when I come home, if I feel like talking about it, I will, but otherwise, don't ask." Moravec's use of the orchestra throughout this baritone solo intensifies musically the reluctance and pain that Robinson's words allude.
 
Additionally, works by Hindemith, Howells and arrangements by Nicholas White are featured on this special program.

Playlist:

There Is A Balm in Gilead
arr. White
The Tiffany Consort and String Ensemble
Nicholas White
NYC

Don’t Ask
Moravec
The Dessoff Choirs
Kent Tritle
NYC

Take him, Earth for Cherishing
Howells
Gabrieli Conssort
McCreesh
London

Excerpts from Dona nobis pacem
Vaughan Williams
London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra
Sir Adrian Boult
London

March, Over the breast of spring from When lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloom’d
Hindemith
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Shaw
Atlanta

Dearest Rowland
Moravec
The Dessoff Choir
Kent Tritle
NYC

In Paradisum
Chant
Gabrieli Conssort
McCreesh
London

Comments [4]

Bravo! All I can say is that the intensity of the song radiates its profound meaning. It reflects how our beloved veterans commit themselves for their country. They really deserve to be paid tribute.

Jun. 04 2011 04:12 AM
David Furber from London, England

A wonderful selection of music. I especially love the Vaughan-Williams, 'Dona Nobis Pacem'. So beautiful, so human.

May. 29 2011 04:00 PM
Michael Meltzer

Intense, all of it. A beautiful and arresting program.

May. 29 2011 07:56 AM
Guy St. Clair from New York NY

Can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy this program.

And today, especially. Thank you for providing us with food for thought for the true meaning of Memorial Day (yes, when I was a boy we, too, went to the cemetery - on "Decoration Day" to honor the war dead).

The music you've played today is very special. For many years I sang at St. Bartholomew's - under Jack Osserwaarde - and so much of this was part of our repertory. Really appreciate what you've done today - and what you're doing.

May. 29 2011 07:49 AM

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