Hearts All Whole: Reflections On (Life And) Twelve Choral Gems – Robert Bode



With his hallmark wit and humor, choral conductor and poet Robert Bode brings readers on a journey through twelve great choral works, offering anecdotes, valuable insights, and interpretive advice for each. Along the way, Bode chronicles his own learning journey and shares candidly about his mistakes, his triumphs, and his love for the repertoire that has played a significant role in his life and illustrious career. This wisdom-filled volume will forever change your understanding and interpretation of these twelve choral gems—a must-read for all choral conductors and musicians.


Josquin: Ave Maria
Palestrina: Ave Redemptoris Mater
Monteverdi: O Mirtillo
Mozart: Ave verum corpus
Brahms: O schöne Nacht!
Brucker: Os Justi
Rachmaninoff: Bogoroditse Devo
Finzi: My Spirit Sang All Day
Poulenc: Hodie Christus natus est
Spencer: At the Round Earth’s Imagin’d Corners
Duruflé: Ubi Caritas
Lauridsen: Sure on This Shining Night

Robert Bode is a noted teacher, award-winning conductor, and prize-winning poet, having written texts for over a hundred choral works. He is currently Visiting Professor of Choral Music at The Ohio State University and Artistic Director Emeritus of Choral Arts Northwest, a Seattle-based chamber chorus.

Bode’s witty, personal, thought-provoking chapters each focus on a specific choral work that has meant something important to him over the course of a career that has established him as one of the most highly esteemed practitioners of the choral conducting art.

—Melinda Bargreen
from the Foreword

This unique, highly readable book by veteran conductor Robert Bode is a gift to the choral community.

—Morten Laurdisen, composer

Part memoir, part historical narrative, and part musical analysis, Robert’s new book reveals secrets that shift our perspective and bring music (and its composers) closer to our hearts.

—Jake Runestad, composer

[This book] should be required reading for choral conducting students and all lovers of the choral art.

—Nancy Menk, conductor

I really loved this book. With wit and wisdom, Robert Bode has given us a glimpse, not just of what it is to be a devoted choral musician, but of the human spirit that longs for beauty in a broken world.

—Josh Haberman, conductor

Readers will feel as though they are engaging in a delightfully informative exchange with the author.

—Hilary Apfelstadt, conductor