I recently spotted that Kenneth Leighton set Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Hymn to Matter” to music, in a composition for baritone, chorus, and orchestra or piano. I’ve been looking to see if there is a recording of the piece, but have yet to find one. I’m surprised that there aren’t more settings of Teilhard de Chardin’s texts to music, and that those which exist are not more popular in our time.
Also of interest to those seeking modern composers’ settings of texts that articulate a spirituality that embraces science are Robert Ward’s “Sacred Songs for Pantheists” – which are in no sense exclusively for those with such a religious view, since they are settings of poems by Catholic poet Gerald Manley Hopkins. While there is no online shareable version, there are at least two commercial recordings. Ward is a modern composer whose music I like very much, and who deserves to be better known.
Have any readers of this blog heard either of these compositions?