Bernard Herrmann's Moby Dick is written in an immediately approachable idiom and like Gilbert Vinter's The Trumpets this is a work deserving the attention of choral societies, because it makes a maximum impact at first hearing. It should be recommended to any listener who can enjoy a dramatic setting of the English language by a composer who shows a real feeling for words. The extreme drama of choral sections which serve to underpin the tension of the climaxes is well supported by the kind of vivid orchestral writing that Walton gave us in Belshazzar's Feast. Yet there is an individuality too, although perhaps this emerges most strongly in the two solo monologues, Ahab's Yonder, by the ever-brimming goblet's rim, and the particularly atmospheric, It was a clear steel-blue day. Here Herrmann matches the images of Ishmael's pensive soliloquy with limpid textures that movingly echo the mariner's thoughts.
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