We’re at that part of the concert cycle – serious note pounding, section by section, tricky half-steps practiced well below tempo so the soprano 1s know why they’re going off key when the soprano 2s hit that other note. In other words, it’s the perfect time for people not actively singing at any minute to quietly play a move on Words With Friends, or happen to finally see the backstory behind one of the pieces we’re singing.
As it turns out, Eric Whitacre – yes, that very same one of the Lux Aurumque virtual choir fame – set Rudyard Kipling’s poem Seal Lullaby on spec, as it were, for a Hollywood studio. And as is the fate of any number of projects in the entertainment industry, the project died in development. Because they “decided to make Kung Fu Panda instead.” Right then.
But the music was written, and it is a hauntingly lovely piece – the kind that makes you stop and want to just sit and let wash over you. A musical moment of zen. And the perfect piece for Whitacre to sing to his own son. Which he apparently did every night at bedtime. Except Whitacre, who may hold entire audiences spellbound, had no such luck with his own kid. “Success rate: less than 50%.”
By the way, it turns out Whitacre also set Goodnight Moon, yes that Goodnight Moon, to music. Whether kids prefer sung versus recited is anyone’s guess. No prizes for guessing if Whitacre knew the words by heart as he set them to music.