Eric Whitacre | little man in a hurry
A setting of the poem by e.e. cummings
Eric Whitacre has been called the “rock star” of American choral composers. His work has a freshness and complexity that appeals to dedicated choral singers across the country, and many of his projects have drawn the interest and appreciation of a much wider arts community.
His “virtual choir” project, for example, is an experimental combination of music and social media. He invites participants to submit a recording of themselves singing their part of a musical score, then combines them into a single performance. The Virtual Choir 2.0 project, released in the spring of 2011, featured 2,052 singers in 58 countries performing his work, Sleep. The project was widely covered, including by National Public Radio.
little man in a hurry also features a combinatorial approach, though on a much smaller scale. When Whitacre agreed to contribute a short composition as an auction item at its annual conference, Chorus America expanded on the idea. Why not ask its member choruses to collaborate on a national scale, commissioning a work that could receive individual première performances all across the country? The Providence Singers, being a Chorus America member (its executive director also serves on the Chorus America board), joined 36 other choruses in the project. The result is this weekend’s Rhode Island — and quite possibly New England — première.
little man in a hurry is the last in Whitacre’s setting of five e.e. cummings poems titled The City and the Sea. Other poems in that collection are i walked the boulevard, the moon is hiding in her hair, maggie and milly and molly and may, and as is the sea marvelous. The piano accompaniment for little man is suitably frenetic and includes a rapid, percussive effect from cluster chords that Whitacre calls “oven-mitt playing.”
The Providence Singers last performed music of Eric Whitacre in June 2011 — one of his best-known pieces, Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine.
More: Whitacre home | Ted Talk