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.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

When David heard

composer
1999
author of text
2 Samuel 18: 33

 
Dr Ronald Staheli, more than any other conductor I have ever worked with, understands my music. He is that rare musician who discovers more music in the music than the composer even realized was there. So when I received the Barlow Commission to write a work for his amazing choir, I knew it had to be something special. The previous year Ron had recorded my Water Night, and his recording is, in my opinion, the quintessential performance of that piece. He seemed to find such powerful beauty in the rests, empty moments that became electric in his hands, so as I set out to write When David heard I decided that my first and most principal musical motive would be silence.

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

Recordings

Cantos sagrados
Studio Master: SIGCD604Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Whitacre: Cloudburst & other choral works
CDA67543

Details

Track 6 on CDA67543 [12'57]
Track 10 on SIGCD604 [11'19] Download only

Track-specific metadata

Click track numbers above to select
Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...