A Memorial Day Tribute

« previous episode | next episode »

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This week on The Choral Mix, Kent Tritle honors fallen soldiers with a special Memorial Day program. Highlights include works by Ralph Vaughn Williams and Paul Moravec.

Vaughan 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, whose poems voiced his sentiments regarding the Civil War. The programmatic score brings to life the events and sounds of war, and the many emotions one experiences. From the boisterous trumpets and percussion depicting bugle and drum corps, to the ethereal vocal writing, the anguish caused by such events is profoundly expressed.
 
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. Robinson 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.
 
Also on the show are works by Hindemith, Howells and arrangements by Nicholas White.

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

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [6]

Michael Meltzer

A moving and elegant hour of tribute, Kent. Beautifully done.

May. 28 2012 12:23 AM
Steve and Deborah Lanser from Listening from our weekend place in Newburgh NY

Thank you, Kent, for this very moving program. Of course, we'll never forget singing Paul Moravec's piece under your direction, and we're so glad we were able to record it. The other pieces were wonderful as well. We've both sung the entire Vaughn Williams piece' Dona Nobis Pacem", and it's an example of great poetry set to great music, as is the Hindemith piece. All the best!

May. 27 2012 09:14 PM
Karen Sovak from Winsted, CT

Thank you for airing this fine program!

May. 27 2012 08:04 AM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan/NYC

Thank you, Kent.

May. 27 2012 07:43 AM
Miriam Michel from New York City

Thank you Kent, for a moving program that is not only a tribute to war's victims -- soldier and civilian alike, but also a plea to pay heed to the senseless anguish caused by wars throughout the ages. The "In paradisum" at the end distills all that came before to its purest essence. If only the great works of art here could be more than inspired responses to that anguish. If only ...

May. 26 2012 09:43 PM
Gwendolyn R. Chambrun from New York City

Thank you, Kent. These were wonderful and moving selections for observing Memorial Day.

May. 25 2012 06:11 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.