Who's Afraid of 20th-Century American Music?

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Kent Tritle features some of his favorite gems of the 20th century American repertoire. Among the ensembles featured are the Dessoff Choirs, the Singing Sergeants and the L.A. Master Chorale.

With the spotlight on 20th-century lyricism, Morten Lauridsen's Sure On This Shining Night opens the program. Set to a text by James Agee, Lauridsen's use of warm vocal lines supported with an angelic accompaniment creates a contemplative setting of the text. The eminent New York composer Ned Rorem is also known for his lyrical writing, and favors the lush harmonies of romanticism.

Rorem’s Present Laughter draws on text by some of the most revered poets including Shakespeare, Blake, Donne and Ben King. Scored for chorus, brass band and piano, Rorem's ideas, occasionally witty and jazzy, colors and animates the text. We hear Rorem's work performed by the Singing Sergeants and the USAF band, who premiered the work in 1996.
Our showcase of American choral works wouldn't be complete without sampling the exquisite lyricism of Samuel Barber. We hear his Reincarnations Op. 16 performed by the Kansas City Chorale.

Also up this week: music by Corigliano and more from Lauridson.