The Earth and I: New American Choral Music

The Washington Master Chorale’s first compact disc, The Earth and I, features two pieces commissioned by the Chorale. Lori Laitman’s expressive cycle of “word paintings,” The Earth and I, based on poems by Emily Dickinson and Donald J. McCullough’s The Eye Begins to See, based on the poetry of Theodore Roethke, anchor a recording that explores humankind’s relationship with nature.   The 19 tracks feature some of America’s most celebrated poets and composers and move seamlessly from the purely whimsical (Norman Dinerstein’s “An Old Silent Pond”), through darkness, and introspection (McCullough’s The Eye Begins to See), to arrive, finally at tranquility and spiritual enlightenment (Stephen Chatman’s “On the Beach at Night Alone”). Throughout, the nuanced artistry of the Washington Master Chorale shines through.

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Track List

  1. “The Earth and I” (2011) | Lori Laitman (b. 1955)
    – The Sun Went Down [2:10]
  2. The Sky is Low [2:43]
  3. The Wind [3:03]
  4. October (1978) | Patricia Plude (b. 1957) [3:56]
  5. Autumn Violets | Stephen Chatman (b. 1950) from “Nature Songs” (2007) [2:21]
  6. The Voice of the Rain [4:05]
  7. On the Beach at Night Alone [3:30]
  8. An Old Silent Pond | Norman Dinerstein (1937-1982) from “Frogs” (1979) [2:54]
  9. To be Sung on the Water Op. 42 no. 2 (1968) | Samuel Barber (1910-1981) [2:57]
  10. Heaven-Haven (A Nun Takes the Veil) (1961) | Samuael Barber [1:51]
  11. Loveliest of Trees (1968) | Kirke Mechem (b. 1925) [2:40]
  12. See How the Arched Earth (1947) | Ross Lee Finney (1906-1997) [3:19] “Four Pastorales” (1963) | Cecil Effinger (1914-1990)
  13. No Mark [3:43]
  14. Noon [3:55]
  15. Basket [3:15]
  16. Wood [4:07]
  17. Sure on this Shining Night (2005) | Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943) [5:01]
  18. “The Eye Begins to See” (2012) | Donald McCullough (b. 1957)
    I. (In a dark time) [5:06]
  19. II. (A steady storm of correspondences) [6:01]

Total Time = 66:37

The Earth and I: New American Choral Music

Featuring the music of Barber, Lauridsen, Effinger, Chatman, Finney, Plude, Dinerstein
with world premiere recordings of works by Lori Laitman and Donald McCullough

Washington Master Chorale | Thomas Colohan, conductor

Mark Vogel, piano | Kacy Clopton, cello | Noelle Drewes, oboe


Recorded on March 11, 18, and 25, 2013
Recording Engineer: Edward John Kelly
Recording Producers: Joseph Gascho and Elena Tsai
Front Photo Credit: Diane Kresh (C&O Canal, Washington, DC)
Photo of Washington Master Chorale: Rhianna Victoria Nissen


Lori Laitman’s “The Earth and I” is published by Enchanted Knickers Music (BMI).
Patricia Plude’s October is available direct from the composer.
Donald McCullough’s “The Eye Begins to See” is published by McCullough Music Press.
Stephen Chatman’s “Nature Songs” is published by ECS Publishing.
Norman Dinerstein’s An Old Silent Pond is published by Carl Fischer, Inc.
Samuel Barber’s To be Sung on the Water and Heaven-Haven and
Cecil Effinger’s “Four Pastorales” are published by G. Schirmer, Inc.
Kirke Mechem’s Loveliest of Trees is published by Beekman Music, Inc.
Ross Lee Finney’s See How the Arched Earth is published by Henmar Press Inc.
Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on this Shining Night is published by Songs of Peer, Ltd.

This recording was made possible by a generous gift from Diane Kresh in memory of David B.G. Kresh.
Additional kind support was provided by Dr. Adelaide Whitaker and an anonymous donor.

“The Washington Master Chorale is nothing short of radiant…the choral sound [is] positively gorgeous…a fascinating disc.”
— Fanfare Magazine    Learn more and read the full review »

“…a lush, beautiful sound…”American Record Guide    Read full review »