With Heart and Voice

Richard GladwellFor about thirty-five years Richard Gladwell hosted “With Heart and Voice” on public radio.  I was a regular listener for fewer than ten years until Maine Public Radio mucked around with the schedule.  During my years as a regular listener Richard was a welcome companion on Sunday nights, sharing his seemingly endless collection of choral and organ music while I listened and wrote in my journal.  Feeling somewhat adrift over the last few years I have been reaching out, and back, to those things that seemed to keep me most anchored, including “With Heart and Voice.”  It wasn’t until last week, looking around for one of those anchors, that I discovered that Richard had been diagnosed with brain cancer earlier in 2009 and died only a few weeks ago, on October 15.

While “With Heart and Voice” often followed the liturgical calendar it was not, and is not, a religious program.  Regardless, it would be impossible to deny the role of the church in the creation of what is, in my estimation at least, some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring music ever written.  Of course, this presupposes that you find choral and organ music appealing, but I am glad to have enjoyed the music – and the words – Richard Gladwell shared with his listeners for so long, and that I have come to hear so much more of that music.  Every time I listen to “Trumpet Tune in D” by David Johnson I will expect it to be followed by a familiar voice.  If you’re not familiar, you can hear WXXI‘s tribute here.

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2 thoughts on “With Heart and Voice

  1. It seems that Richard Gladwell was a gentle soul of a person. His show is a good example of what is great about NPR…allowing for shows like With Heart and Voice to have a “voice”. The WXXI tribute truly honored him.

  2. That’s a great observation. It’s hard to imagine programs like “With Heart and Voice,” “Pipedreams,” “A Prairie Home Companion,” and others ever finding a place on commercial radio. After listening to the tribute I tracked down Christopher Herrick’s “Organ Fireworks” (Volume 1) at http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk and ordered a copy from Hyperion’s excellent archive service. Now at least I can hear the WHV theme any time I feel the need.

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