Before the Morning Star Begotten (Epiphany) recalls the imitative "fuguing tunes" and sturdy harmonies of the traditional Appalachian hymnal, The Sacred Harp .
In Bee! I'm expecting you! the Fly "types" a brief note to its friend the Bee, hopping from key to key. The Fly exhorts the Bee to come quickly and join in the days of Summer.
The Bees' Song, takes its silly text from British poet Walter de la Mare, who included no less than 33 ‘Z's' in his poem of the same name. This musical setting highlights those ‘Z' sounds, as each part buzzes around, looking for a nice cadence to land on.
The Canticle of the Sun is composed for mixed chorus and orchestra and uses Matthew Arnold's translation of the famous St. Francis of Assisi poem.
Over a life span of more than 65 years, The Canticle of the Sun has received only a dozen or so performances. This is the world premiere recording of this piece.
The selection committee for the 1946 Pulitzer included two previous Pulitzer recipients: Howard Hanson (1944, for his Symphony No. 4) and Aaron Copland (1945, for Appalachian Spring).
Appalachian Spring was unveiled in Washington in October 1944 and won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Aaron Copland wrote: Fast. Sudden burst of unison strings in A-major arpeggios starts the action. A sentiment both elated and religious gives the keynote to this scene.
The second movement begins with a muscular, rhythmically dynamic fugue that ascends through the woodwinds into the full orchestra to preface the jubilant chorus that distills the expressive essence of Walt Whitman's heroic verses.