James Durst- A Whaling Trilogy
A Whaling Trilogy
One A Whaling Trilogy CD & US Shipping


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Whaling is My Trade, Thoughts of a Whalers Wife & Whale Soliloquy

Featuring guest soloists Jon Joyce (baritone vocal, ‘Whaler’), Susan Boyd Joyce (alto vocal, ‘Whaler’s Wife’) and James Durst (baritone vocal, ‘Whale’ & guitar)

For centuries our greatest classical composers have borrowed liberally from the melodies, themes and motifs of the folk tradition. These three interwoven songs offer a Rashomon-like view of whaling. A WHALING TRILOGY distills into twelve minutes the epic struggles of three disparate yet interdependent characters. Their plaintive perspectives have been orchestrated by Kim Scharnberg, whose work is heard regularly with the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Pops and on Broadway and network television. The orchestra parts were skillfully realized digitally by arranger Bill Smith, who also oversaw the recording of the 32 singers in our Whaling Chorus. This recording was created as a demo of the work for consideration by orchestra conductors and programmers, as well as choral directors.  A complete conductor’s score is available upon request.

“I can’t think of too many folk cantatas. There’s Earl Robinson’s Ballad for Americans, Millard Lampell’s Lonesome Train, Robert DeCormier’s They Called Her Moses. James Durst has contributed an impressive new work to this highly limited folk repertoire for solo voices, chorus and orchestra. Starting with the song of a whaler, the piece swerves into his wife’s touching lament for the man long missing at sea, then proceeds to the musings of a whale, who bemoans the unreasoned enmity of man, and wonders–as do we all–if they, and we can survive.” –Robert Sherman, Woody’s Children, WFUV-FM, New York

“Just finished listening to A Whaling Trilogy. It is your best work yet! Congratulations. My wife also enjoyed it. Moby Dick is one of my favorite novels and I spent a few years at sea. So I related to the ‘feel’ of the ocean you captured in the music and the fates being lived out by the whale and the whalers on the sea. My wife related to the wife’s tale of separation. The way you wove three tales into one coherent story was awesome.” –Joe Cromwell, NY

“A grand piece.”
–Geoff Kaufman, folksinger/songwriter, Mystic Seaport CT

“I had the extreme pleasure of listening to both the Whaling Trilogy and Hue Manatee’s Quest. Both are works larger than life and it is amazing that a humble folk singer had the vision to see such majestic projects. I am proud to say that I know you.”
–Larry ‘Folkster’ Rosenfeld, Karmiel Folk Klub, Shorashim, Israel

James composed Thoughts of a Whaler’s Wife in 1969, Whale Soliloquy in 1972 and Whaling is My Trade in 1973, subsequently interweaving the three into this epic work. He finally got around to recording it solo for his 2006 CD, Internationally Unknown, accompanied only by his guitar and Ritt Henn’s sterling upright bass playing. In 2007, he commissioned his friend Kim Scharnberg to create the orchestration, and spent the ensuing time realizing the auditory experience of the work. The premiere live performance of the work is the next undertaking.