Remembering Ned Rorem

Ned Rorem, the American composer and diarist, passed away on November 18 at his home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He was 99. Born in Richmond, Indiana, Rorem composed three symphonies, numerous concertos, and other orchestral works, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Air Music (1974). Additionally, he contributed a host of operas, choral music, and chamber works. Yet, he will be remembered most as the composer of song. The esteemed choral conductor, Robert Shaw, declared …

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Ned Rorem’s “Early in the Morning”

Arguably, no artist grows up: If he sheds the perceptions of childhood, he ceases being an artist. -Ned Rorem Early in the Morning, an art song by American composer Ned Rorem (b. 1923), is filled with wistful nostalgia. The text, by the poet Robert Hillyer, offers a distant memory of a far-off summer morning. Both the words and the music are shrouded in a dreamlike haze. We’re presented with the ephemeral- sights and smells of the morning- …

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The Louisville Orchestra: Five Historic Recordings

What ingredients are required to develop and sustain a flourishing professional orchestra? Vision, ambition, dedication to the community, and at least a modicum of “big league” thinking, to name a few. The early years of the Louisville Orchestra offer a case in point. Shortly after its founding in 1937, the ensemble’s first music director, Robert Whitney and Louisville mayor, Charles Farnsley, “conceived an adventurous plan to make the commissioning, performance, and recording of new works …

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Ned Rorem’s “Little Elegy”

It’s amazing how much can be said in the small space of sixteen measures. A case in point is Little Elegy, a song by American composer Ned Rorem (b. 1923). Rorem, who was born in Richmond, Indiana and will turn 93 in October, produced a series of operas, three symphonies, countless concertos, and chamber works over the course of his long career. But he’s most known for his prolific contribution to a genre …

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