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Saturday, January 5, 2019 Permalink

The Whitman Connection

Walt Whitman portrait by Thomas Eakins


"I sing...the body electric," "a song of myself, "a song of joys," "a song of occupations," "a song of the broad-axe," "a song of the rolling earth," "a song of the universal..."

For Walt Whitman--the most influential American poet of the 19th century--music was a central force in his life and work—and so his poetry’s appeal to composers should come as no surprise. But they have responded to more than his passion for song. They also find inspiration in his democratic spirit, his sensuality, his grief in the face of war, and his mystic vision.

In this hour, Whitman settings by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frederick Delius, Kurt Weill, Howard Hanson, John Adams, and Leonard Bernstein.


CD Title


Catalog #


Celluloid Copland (for promo/opening music


Telarc CD-80583



To the Soul

Thomas Hampson, Craig Rutenberg

EMI 724355502827


Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem, Toward the Unknown Region

Corydon Orchestra and Singers, Matthew Best.


Hyperion DA66655               


Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem, etc

Bournemouth Symphony, Bach Choir, Winchester Cathedral Choristers, Matthew Brook, David Hill,

Naxos 8.572424



Delius: Sea-Drift 

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox.

Chandos CHAN 9214


Music of Howard Hanson


Delos DE 3705


Hanson Conducts Hanson

Eastman School of Music Chorus, and Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, Howard Hanson

Mercury 432 008-2


Shaker Loops [for “The Wound Dresser”]

Nathan Gunn, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,
Marin Alsop


Naxos 8.559031


The Pity of War [for “Dirge for Two Veterans”]

Mark Padmore, with Iain Burnside, piano

BBC Music MM235


Symphony No. 1 (A Sea Symphony)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Spano

Telarc 80588



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