This concert celebrates Bernard Herrmann, who in addition to being Hollywood’s supreme film composer was the master composer of American radio dramas, working for Orson Welles and Norman Corwin in the 1920s and 1930s. A supreme achievement was the radio drama “Whitman” (1944), scripted and directed by Corwin with a symphonic score by Herrmann; Charles Laughton played Whitman. In fact, this 25-minute radio play deserves to live on as a concert work — and this will be the world premiere concert performance, with William Sharp as Whitman and PostClassical Ensemble conducted by Angel Gil-Ordonez. The performance will be broadcast live in honor of the Whitman Bicentennial; there will also be a Naxos recording. The remainder of the program includes the “Psycho” symphonic narrative and Herrmann’s Clarinet Quintet. There will also be extensive commentary. Corwin — the genius of American radio drama — based his prose style on Whitman’s free verse. His “Whitman” is both a tribute to the poet, and a wartime patriotic gesture.
This is part of the multi-venue, 12-day Walt Whitman 200 Festival, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of America’s most significant and enduring poets, who was a resident of Washington, DC for ten years during and after the Civil War.