Mid-Winter Themes

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The deep freeze of mid-winter has finally settled upon New York. In the spirit of frost sparkling in twilight and flurries falling at dusk, we explore mid-winter-themed compositions on this edition of The Choral Mix.

Since the Victorian era, composers have set thematic texts to music to mark the season. Consider Morten Lauridsen's Mid-Winter Songs, which are settings of Robert Graves's poems, as well as Vincent Persichetti's Winter Cantata featuring woman's voices, a flute and marimba. 

Other homages to winter include The Snow, one of Edward Elgar's elegantly lyrical choral pieces evoking of the sharpness of winter; and Eric Whitacre’s Sleep, originally conceived as a composition set to Robert Frost’s Stopping By Woods on A Snowy Evening.

 

Playlist:

Elgar/ Wondrous Love/ BYU Women’s Chorus, Jean Apploine
The Snow   

Persichetti/ Persichetti: Choral Works/ Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Tamara Brook
Winter Cantata  

Whitacre/ Whitacre Choral Music/ Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison
 Sleep  

Lauridsen/Lauridsen: Nocturnes/ Polyphony and Britten Symphonia, Stephen Layton
Mid-Winter Songs   

Arr. Michael Hale/ Appalachian Sketches/Gloriae Dei Cantores, Brother Richard Cragg, tenor, Elizabeth C. Patterson
Lorena

Comments [5]

Susan Gutterman from Manhattan

I agree with the other commenters that my husband & I wish your program wasn't both awfully early & awfully late. But we love hearing it.
I had such a fit of nostalgia when you played the setting of "Lorena". When I was in high school in the 50s, I was immersed in the Civil War -- the old, more romantic presentation of that time, including the ultra-romantic song "Lorena".

Feb. 13 2012 12:00 PM
Jasper Jones from Midtown Manhattan

I really enjoyed the program of winter music yesterday. I find Layton's performance of Lauridsen's "Mid-Winter Songs" a bit analytical, but at least one can understand all the words. A couple of observations: why fade out at the end of the program without playing an entire selection? Also, it's good that you have dropped the incessant superlatives--"fabulous," "wonderful," "incredible," etc.--and opted for more accurate descriptions of the music. There's enough kvelling on QXR without adding more.

I wish your program weren't quite so early in the morning (I'm usually away from home during the evening repeat), but it's worth the early rising. I must say, there's nothing like hearing "Les Noces" at 7:00 AM. I didn't need any coffee after that!

Good luck at John the Divine. You may need it. I've always wondered what John Scott has to say about dealing with the acoustics at St. Paul's all those years.

Feb. 13 2012 11:13 AM
Steven Lanser from Upper Manhattan

It was a wonderful program, Kent! I listened to the 11:00 PM re-broadcast tonight. It was particularly great to hear Lauridsen's Mid-Winter Songs again, with Stephen Layton and Polyphony. The Dessoff Choirs sang this cycle under your direction, and I'll never forget that experience! Shine warm, Kent!

Feb. 13 2012 12:05 AM
Margaret Lutteral, Esq. from Manhattan

EXCELLENT, ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT, TO WAKE UP ON SUNDAYS WITH YOUR LOVELY MUSIC. TODAY, (SUNDAY FEB.12), YOU OFFERED A MOST FANTASTIC PROGRAM. TOO BAD YOU ARE SO EARLY.
YOU AND ELIOTT FORREST ARE THE BEST THINGS THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ME ON SUNDAYS' MORNINGS. I'M 74 YEARS OLD AND A LISTENER FOR A LONG...LONG TIME.
WE LIVE IN A CRAZY WORLD, I HOPE THAT MUSIC WILL NEVER END. PLEASE BE WELL

Feb. 12 2012 01:35 PM
David Dehner from San Francisco

How amazing to hear the Mid-Winter Songs once more after Jon Bailey introduced them in a TTBB arrangement over 20 years ago. I love them no matter what the voicing but long to hear men's chorus voices in this once more.

Great program of music that is not just sacred choral. We could benefit from more directors opening this genre wide after their holiday repertoire is exhausted!

Feb. 11 2012 10:19 PM

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