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Classical Notes

Snow after midnight...

Posted at 1:25 AM on November 6, 2013 by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu (2 Comments)
Filed under: Choral Music

Southern boys don't get to experience snow very often. That's why I decided to stop by the office tonight; to get my first swing at this Minnesota winter (I told y'all I was crazy). I knocked back a few Monsters and started jamming to some good ol' choral music. One of my favorite pieces by Eric Whitacre cued up on my playlist and then it hit me.

Back in the day, when he composed what is now known as Sleep, the music had different poetry. Whitacre originally set Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, unfortunately, he hadn't secured the rights to do so. Long story short, after a battle with the Frost estate, the original text was no longer an option. Whitacre wisely collaborated with lyricist Charles Anthony Silvestri and re-birthed what is now one of his most beloved works. Being totally honest, I prefer the marriage of Silvestri's text with Whitacre's music, but I want to open the floor for dialogue. What's your preference? Listen to both and chime in...

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


Comments (2)

I agree completely that Silvestri's text is a better fit for this piece. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is compelling in large part due to the rhyme structure, linking the third line of each quatrain to the next quatrain, and that structure is lost in this setting. Randall Thompson's setting in "Frostiana" preserves the structure and seems a better fit for Frost's poem.

Whitacre's music couldn't be more perfect for capturing the netherworld between awake and asleep. Kudos to Silvestri and Whitacre on this collaboration!

Posted by Yvonne Grover | November 7, 2013 11:18 AM

@Yvonne Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Well said!

Posted by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu | November 7, 2013 11:33 AM