Eric Whitacre: Water Night

Eric Whitacre: Water Night

For composer Eric Whitacre, music has “an uncanny ability to capture the power, mysticism, and sensuality of water.” His choices for this playlist come from opera, film, and the concert stage, and include Benjamin Britten’s haunting “Moonlight,” one of the “Four Sea Interludes” from his 1943 opera Peter Grimes. “I first heard it at Juilliard,” Whitacre tells Apple Music, “and I was thunderstruck by how Britten had captured the ache and pull of the sea.” Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis conjures for Whitacre equally vivid images of the roiling ocean, thanks to its use in the 2003 film Master and Commander. “The scene where Russell Crowe’s character is forced to sacrifice one of his sailors to save the ship is made only more poignant by this perfect music,” he adds. Turning to his own works, Water Night is a piece Whitacre wrote as a student in 1995. “It’s probably the one piece in my entire catalog that sums up ‘me,’” he says. “The original choral version has one of my favorite lines in all poetry, by Octavio Paz: ‘And if you close your eyes/A river, a silent and beautiful current, fills you from within/Flows forward, darkens you.’”

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