recess radio program

1/05/04
Dance on a Moonbeam
    by John Cech

Brief sound clip

That's the late Bill Crofut, performing part of his wonderful alphabet song, "Alligator Hedgehog," from this new CD that he finished just before he died, called Dance on a Moonbeam. It's a stunning, rich collection of poetry and folksongs, operatic arias and nonsense verse, all woven together as intricately and neatly as a Nantucket basket's wicker splines. There are elegant readings from Shakespeare by Meryl Streep, and vibrant settings of Randall Jarrell's and e e cummings' poems sung by Dawn Upshaw; Frederica von Stade contributes a moving version of the Shaker hymn, "Simple Gifts"; and the Chourus Angelicus transports you with the lullabye, "Now I lay Me Down to Sleep," from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.

But it is Bill Crofut's presence that fills the CD throughout, his steady baritone harmonzing with Julianne Baird in a lovely version of the traditional Welsh song, "All Through the Night," and his delicate pick work turning the banjo into an instrument of grace in the duet of a Bach Bourré that he does with lutist Carver Blanchard. This is poetry as most of us wish it had been presented to us as children -- full of magic and music and mystery, offered in a faraway diction and calling us to sweet delight. And this is what we'd dream an evening, a day, a season, a year, a lifetime to be: peaceful and joyful and profoundly loving.

Here's Meryl Streep with Shakespeare and Bill Crofut with the title song:

Brief sound clip

Today's program featured the following work:

Copyright 2004 © John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."