Celebrating the Career of Sir Andrew Davis with Ed Frazier Davis

March 19, 2022, 4:15 pm

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Andrew Davis applauding his son Ed Frazier Davis on stage with orchestra members
Ed Frazier Davis and Sir Andrew Davis

Sir Andrew Davis’s career spans more than four decades, during which he has been the artistic leader at several of the world’s most distinguished opera and symphonic institutions, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Davis has led performances at many of the world’s most important opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, the Bayreuth Festival, and the major companies of Munich, Paris, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. Ed Frazier Davis — a composer, conductor, baritone, and founder of Vox Venti — is Oliver’s guest and has curated this episode’s playlist drawing from his father’s enormous, award-winning discography.


George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess
Nicole Cabell, soprano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Nicole Cabell Soprano
Decca B0006590-02

Hector Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ
Part II, La fuite en Égypte: “Les pèlerins étant venus”
Andrew Staples, tenor
Melbourne Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ
Chandos CHSA-5228 (2)

Hugh Wood: Scenes from Comus, Op. 6
“The Entrance of the Lady”
Geraldine McGreevy, soprano
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Hugh Wood: Symphony & Scenes from Comus


Giacomo Puccini: La rondine
“Chi il bel sogno di Doretta”
Nicole Cabell, soprano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Nicole Cabell Soprano
Decca B0006590-02

George Frideric Handel, arr. Davis: Messiah
“He that dwelleth in heaven…Thou shalt break them”
Andrew Staples, tenor
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Handel: Messiah (New Concert Edition by Sir Andrew Davis)
Chandos CHSA-5176 (2)

Ed Frazier Davis: Hymn to St. Cecilia
Sarah Tannehill Anderson, soprano
Musicians from the Kansas City Symphony
See text below

Richard Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder
“Beim Schlafengehen”
Erin Wall, soprano
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs, Don Juan, Also sprach Zarathustra
ABC Classics 4811122


[Refrain ad libitum: Ora pro nobis, O gaudens inviolate]

Though I betrothed to the enemy be,
A private psalm unbidden from me springs,
Crystalline, tinkling, untranslatable.
Sing for me, Blessed Cecilia, incorruptible.
Melodious beyond sound
the inner ear sustains
a legato unbearable:
the angelic refrain
a death shroud for marriage
and a burial bridal train,
O martyrdom, Ineluctable.
Worrisome vision,
[half-beheaded, yet preaching
Forgiveness pours
from a severed throat streaming,]
Between life and death
Suspended and Scream-singing,
Holy Ghost flute and witness indestructible.

O All-clanging aether-music!
O noyesome unrelentingness,
near-cursed whirling celestial cacophony
of dissonance elect,
you Ur-yawp—
crushing and ecstatic—
drawing to the bosom of th’eternal,
both saint and psychotic
to drown or dance, vocation according.
[See, I have been of flesh fashioned an instrument,
my song limited by apparatus extremities:
a shadow of its full feeling-tone,
needs touching yet to sound.]
O matter, how to stammer this love note,
my vibrations, barbarous, murdersome, distant,
almost-entirely Other, a fragment of
[pink] stone to render no matter how haltingly this
aching near-incompatibility [suddenly in glass,]
empathetic, chasm breached:
Thy voice, O CECILIA!

@ Mystery, Who wooed me,
as a bride, [experienced,]
once-abandoned, yelping, but hungry
[I come. ]
Turn me not away!
Receive me, [receive me]–receive and bless
all my shame, redeem’d
through my need alone:
your Love so consuming
as though from which to hide;
I kindle. I burn.
[Receive me.]
—Gregory Peebles (2018), commissioned and edited by Ed Frazier Davis