Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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The text, one single, devastating sentence, is from the King James Bible; II Samuel, 18:33:
When David heard that Absalom was slain he went up into his chamber over the gate and wept, my son, my son, O Absalom my son, would God I had died for thee!
Setting this text was such a lonely experience, and even now just writing these words I am moved to tears. I wrote maybe 200 pages of sketches, trying to find the perfect balance between sound and silence, always simplifying, and by the time I finished a year later I was profoundly changed. Older, I think, and quieted a little. I still have a hard time listening to the recording.
When David heard was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for the Arts for the Brigham Young Singers, and is dedicated with love and silence to Dr Ronald Staheli. It received its premiere on 26 March 1999.
from notes by Eric Whitacre © 2020
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