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The story behind the single work presented here has such significance for the composer-conductor Eric Whitacre and his friend and long-term librettist Charles Anthony Silvestri that critical analysis of the music seems inappropriate. The Sacred Veil, Whitacre’s most extended work to date, is effectively a poignant secular requiem for Silvestri’s wife, Julia, charting her illness and death from cancer and the shock and grief of her husband and two young children as they travelled with her on the journey – as did Whitacre himself. More detail about the context and how the piece was put together was provided in our recent feature about the UK-based Eric Whitacre Singers (C&O March 2020); it is a work that will speak eloquently to modern generations and is performed here with great tenderness by the choir that gave the premiere in 2019.

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