Randall Thompson

Creatively Speaking
12:57 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

The Philadelphia Singers Resurrect A Requiem

The Philadelphia Singers

Randall Thompson was famous, and wrote in a medium that was his specialty. Yet now his 1958 masterpiece Requiem is having to be saved from decades of obscurity by The Philadelphia Singers. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found out why such a resurrection was necessary.

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
12:06 am
Thu September 19, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Thompson, Alleluia

Randall Thompson

Randall Thompson's Alleluia, performed by Voices of Ascension, Dennis Keene, conductor, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

From Randall Thompson, then Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, Serge Koussevitzky wanted a choral fanfare, loud and festive, for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. But Thompson couldn’t do festive, not in July 1940. Evil was spreading in Europe, and France had fallen the month before.

Over five days Thompson took the word “Alleluia”—literally, “Praise the Lord”—and turned it on its head, just as (he said later) it is in the Book of Job: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Thompson calls this a sad piece, this slow and insistent six-minute layered intoning of “Alleluia,” ending in “Amen.” It’s an atypical fanfare, but the Thompson Alleluia is one of the most beloved choral works of all time.

Check out all of the 60th anniversary Classical CD highlights here!

Contribute today at the $160 level and we'll thank you with our limited-edition WRTI 60th Anniversary CDs. Choose either our Classical (3 CDs) or Jazz (2 CDs) sets with notes from your favorite hosts. Pledge Here, and Thanks!