-scale=1.0,maximum-scale=1.0" : "width=1100"' name='viewport'/> Plum Street Chili: Bede's Beat - April 15 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bede's Beat - April 15 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865

I miss you, Bede. Several of your fine music articles have been more widely read than my own.

In 1942, Aaron Copland's mind was on the past and the present, because he was commissioned by André Kostelanetz write a piece about an "eminent American" for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,

Copland -- like Kurt Weill, who was contemporaneously setting several of Walt Whitman Civil War poems to musical accompaniment -- turned to the figure of Lincoln as a means of explaining to his countrymen precisely what they were fighting for in battle against the Axis.

The result was The Lincoln Portrait a work written for full orchestra with narrator. Over the years, many famous actors and Americans have performed the Lincoln Portriat, including Henry Fonda (with Copland himself conducting), Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Marian Anderson, Katherine Hepburn, Esther Rolle, Vincent Price, Walter Cronkite, Carl Sandburg (in a performance that won a Grammy), Gore Vidal, Margaret Thatcher, Niel Armstrong, Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Adlai Stevenson.

Carl Sandburg with André Kostelanetz conducting the New York Philharmonic [winner of the 1959 Grammy for "Best Performance – Documentary Or Spoken Word (Other Than Comedy)"