Tygers and Lambs

« previous episode | next episode »

Sunday, October 07, 2012

This week's show opens with a creatures' chorus celebrating Saint Francis of Assisi's Feast Day. Host Kent Tritle offers some poems and settings referencing God and creation. William Blake’s seminal "animalistic" poems "The Tyger" and "The Lamb" sit alongside a new work by Christina Whitten Thomas called Choral de Bêtes.

We also hear a choral story from a young singer named Jake Eisner who's based at The Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City.

More on Music and the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi

Imagine a parade of camels, goats, sheep, horses, even fish and about a thousand cats & dogs with their owners. This happens every October during the annual blessing of the animals on the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Much music has been written about this story of creation. Britten’s cantata Rejoice in the Lamb is a setting of a text by the 18th-century enigmatic English poet, Christopher Smart. The pieces are part of larger choral segments, and are interspersed with solos for four voices. We hear a version sung by The Sixteen under the direction of Harry Christophers. It's one of the most fun to sing choral works in the repertoire.

Animals have long been the inspiration for choral music. The French poet Carmen Bernos de Gassztold wrote a series of prayers about the trials and joys these animals face. Musica Sacra sings a recent work called Choral de Bêtes – The Creatures Choir – by Christina Whitten Thomas. Voices of Ascension premiered it at Zankel Hall in 2007.

A New Feature on The Choral Mix

Each week we'll feature a choral story that highlights the choral backdrop of New York City. Today, 13-year-old Jake Eisner shares his thoughts about singing at the Cathedral School of St John the Divine, as well as his musical inspirations and life on the verge of his changing voice. As a choral associate at the church, Malcolm Merriweather weighs in on his teaching style and how nurturing the choristers in their prime is so important. (Kent Tritle is the director of cathedral music and organist at St. John the Divine.)

Join the discussion: What choral music with amazing animal imagery do you love?

 

Playlist:

Clausen, René:

The Tyger (Rebecca Lloyd, soprano) 2:46

The Lamb (Lindsey Lang, soprano) 4:46

Kansas City Chorale

Charles Bruffy

Album: "Life and Breath" Choral Works by René Clausen

Chandos CHSA 5105

 

Britten, Benjamin:

Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30 17:07

The Sixteen

Harry Christophers

Album: Blest Cecilia - Britten Choral Works I

The Sixteen

Harry Christophers

Coro 16006

 

Whitten Thomas, Christina:

Choral de Bêtes 12:06

Musica Sacra

Kent Tritle

Album: "Messages to Myself" New Music for Chorus A Cappella

MSR Classics MS 1411

 

Tavener, John:

The Lamb ["Little Lamb, who made thee?"] 3:51

Tenebrae

Nigel Short

Album: Allegri / Miserere

Signum UK 35

 

Convery, Robert:

The Lamb 3:47

Musica Sacra

Kent Tritle

Album: "Messages to Myself" New Music for Chorus A Cappella

MSR Classics MS 1411

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

Comments [2]

Carole from Brooklyn, NY

In response to your question, three pieces immediately come to mind:

- Josquin's "EL GRILLO";

- Jannequin's "CHANT DES OISEAUX";

- Banchieri's "FESTIVAL OF THE ANIMALS" (or some such title).

Oct. 07 2012 04:07 PM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan/NYC

Delightful to hear from 13-year-old Jake Eisner about his changing vocal register (reminds me of the possibly apocryphal stories of how Orlande de Lassus was kidnapped by people who wanted him to "keep" his boyish soprano permanently) and his passion for the St. Matthew Passion. Extraordinary young man. Also Malcolm the director ("Everybody say: 'Schoenberg!'"). Wonderful.

Oct. 07 2012 07:50 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.