Listeners in the Drivers Seat

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A couple weeks ago, we aired an episode called “The Best Music You Hardly Know”.  We asked listeners what their favorite neglected pieces were.  And boy, did we receive a lot of comments.  We found that you really know your choral music!  You had a lot of suggestions for us.  So, on this weekend's episode, it’s your show. We let you take the wheel. 



We start our listener-driven episode with Verdi’s Ave Maria. Known for his dramatic opera writing, Verdi produced an exquisite choral setting of the famous text. The chromatic shifts build intensity along with the dynamic vocal range, all requiring great technique.

Another piece suggested by one of you was a work from a Pulitzer Prize winner and American composer who lives right here in New York City, Charles Peter Wuorinen. You'll hear the first movement, Invocation, from his work Genesis. It’s a large oratorio, and we play a version with the Minnesota Chorale & Minnesota Orchestra led by Edo de Waart.

A lot of your web comments included interest in 20th century American composers. One in particular was William Duckworth’s Southern Harmony. It’s a minimalistic work composed in 1981, and named after a popular tune book for churches and schools.

Other suggestions that jumped out at us were the Mass setting Missa Egue Bone by the English Renaissance composer Christopher Tye, Schoenberg’s Dreimal Tausend Jahre, Samuel Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard, and Kodaly’s Jesus and the Traders.

Thanks to everyone who sent suggestions on these rarely performed works.  Keep them coming!



Verdi/ Ave Maria/Ave Sol Chamber Choir, Imants Kokars

Ave Maria


Wuorinen/ Genesis/ Minnesota Chorale & Minnesota Orchestra, Edo de Waart



Duckworth/ An American Collage/ Rooke Chapel Choir, William Payn

Southern Harmony:

War Department



The Turtle Dove


Tye/ Missa "Euge Bone"/ Ely Cathedral Choir, Paul Trepte

Agnus Dei


Schoenberg/ Schoenberg: Choral Works/ Accentus, Laurence Equilbey

Dreimal Tausend Jahre


Barber/ Prayers of Kierkegaard/ Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Shaw

O Thou Who Art Unchangeable

Father in Heaven. Well we know it is thou

Father in Heaven! Hold not our sins up against us.


Kodály/ Missa Brevis/ Danish National Radio Choir, Stefan Parkman

Jesus and the Traders