Morning Glories: Eric Whitacre

by Jennifer Anderson, Minnesota Public Radio
April 7, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — Every weekday at 10 a.m., the hosts at Classical MPR play a standout work based on the theme for the week. We call these works Morning Glories.

Composer and conductor Eric Whitacre headed to college with dreams of becoming a rock superstar, but was detoured by life-altering experiences in choir and band. That's not to say he hasn't achieved those dreams, though — his compositions and social media presence have rocketed him to stardom in the choral world, with legions of fans and a virtual choir that could almost fill a stadium.

Whitacre is bringing his super-popular "whitachords" and fantastic hair to Orchestra Hall this week, conducting the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Chorale in some of his most famous works.

We'll check out five compositions by Whitacre in this week's Morning Glories, looking forward to the live broadcast of his appearance with the Orchestra and Chorale on Friday night.


When David Heard
An emotionally complex piece, this setting of the Biblical text of the death of Absalom illustrates David's anguish through a struggle of silence and intensity.


Three Flower Songs
Some of Whitacre's earliest choral settings, the poems of three disparate writers — Emily Dickinson, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Edmund Weller — share a common theme of flowers as a metaphor for love and loss.


Ghost Train Triptych
Of course, Whitacre doesn't just write music for singing; here's one of his works for wind band, a set of pieces depicting trains chugging through the wide-open spaces of the Southwest.


Three Songs of Faith
Whitacre set three of e.e. cummings' poems for a commission to celebrate Northern Arizona University's centennial, each one a blissful exultation of life.


Lux Aurumque and Nox Aurumque
Lux Aurumque is arguably one of Whitacre's most popular pieces, and is frequently performed by a variety of ensembles, from high school groups to professional choirs. Nox Aurumque, written several years later, is a dramatic companion to Lux Aurumque — darker, more intricate, yet as luminous as its predecessor.

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