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i carry your heart

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Seven years ago, one of my best friends in the world, Omar Crook, got married to another of my best friends, Amy Arms. Omar asked me before the wedding if I would set e.e. Cummings’ iconic poem ‘i carry your heart’ for the ceremony. I tried and tried to find the music in the poetry but came up empty, so instead I did the next best thing: I gave a terrible best man’s speech.

Five and a half years later I was sitting at the piano, working on another piece, and I stumbled on a single music gesture that unlocked the poem for me. That musical gesture is heard first in the opening lines of the poem:

i carry your heart with me.

i carry it in my heart.

i am never without it.

The idea that ‘I’m never without it’ was the core of the piece’s construction. And so, I finally wrote the piece and surprised them with it. I was giving a concert with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and I invited them to attend without giving them any idea what we would perform. We made it through the entire concert and then, as an encore, I announced, “this is for my dear friends Omar Crook and Amy Arms, a gift for their wedding day – a little late.” Now every time I hear it I think of this very intimate love and, very specifically, Omar and Amy.

– Eric Whitacre, composer & conductor

Release date: 14 February 2018

Eric Whitacre composer & conductor
Eric Whitacre Singers choir
SOPRANO Charlotte Ashley, Alison Ponsford-Hill, Victoria Meteyard, Emilia Morton, Ruth Provost, Amy Wood
ALTO Helen Charlston, Hannah Cooke, Ruth Kiang, Ksynia Loeffler, Martha McLorinan, Chloe Morgan
TENOR Ruairi Bowen, Benedict Hymas, Tom Kelly, Gareth Treseder, Ben Vonberg-Clark, David de Winter
BASS Simon Gallear, Jimmy Holliday, Oliver Hunt, Edmund Saddington, Greg Skidmore, Simon Whiteley
Grace Davidson soprano
Simon Rhodes producer
Mike Hatch, Floating Earth sound engineer

Recorded at Air Studios in July 2017

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DOUBLE A-SIDE VINYL: Hurt & i carry your heart

Track Listing

1. i carry your heart
Eric Whitacre
04:32
i carry your heart

Video Clips

i carry your heart

I discuss the writing process of my latest a cappella work "i carry your heart."

Posted by Eric Whitacre on Monday, February 19, 2018