Letters from Lincoln is the world-premiere recording of a work by composer Michael Daugherty featuring Thomas Hampson and the Spokane Symphony under the direction of Eckart Preu.
From E1 Music:
This new work was commissioned by the Spokane Symphony in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln”s birth (1809-1865), and premiered on February 28, 2009. Also included on the record are two lyric early works by Anton von Webern, Im Sommerwind and Langsamer Satz.
Michael Daugherty is one of the most commissioned, performed and recorded composers on the American concert music scene today. With compositions rich with cultural and political allusions and bearing the stamp of classic modernism, his melodies are eloquent and stirring. As someone who has composed works focused on pop culture (Superman, UFOs, Liberace), he was the perfect choice to explore Lincoln the man and not just Lincoln the icon. And he has written music about other political figures: J. Edgar Hoover, Rosa Parks, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Says Daugherty: “In Letters from Lincoln, I create a musical portrait of a man who expressed his vision with eloquence, and with hope that the human spirit could overcome prejudice and differences of opinion in order to create a better world. I discovered ways to bring his historic greatness into the present.”
Says Eckart Preu: “Symphony audiences know Lincoln from Aaron Copland”s `Lincoln Portrait.” That”s Lincoln the statue …, Lincoln the monumental figure. For this commission, we wanted to take Lincoln down from that pedestal and show him on a more human scale, someone we could recognize as flesh and blood.
Spokane native Thomas Hampson complimented Daugherty”s “lyricism, which just jumps out of his music.” Moreover, by having chosen to set texts taken from throught Lincoln”s life, Daugherty has created a contrast, Hampson says, “between the chatty stuff and the big, lyrical stuff.”
Daugherty has been hailed by The Times (London) as “a master icon maker” with a “maverick imagination, fearless structural sense and meticulous ear.” He first came to international attention when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Zinman, performed his Metropolis Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1994 and the Houston Grand Opera premiered his opera Jackie O in 1996. Since that time, his music has entered the orchestral, band, opera and chamber music repertory and made him, according to the League of American Orchestras, one of the ten most performed living American composers.
Historians and the general public generally regard Lincoln as America”s greatest president who successfully led the United States through the Civil War and initiated the end of slavery. His life, which was full of spectacular opposites, ironies, contradictions and pathos, provided Daugherty with abundance of musical dramatic possibilities.
Lincoln”s impassioned writings, from his youth as poor boy in the backwoods of Kentucky to his tragic death as President of the United States, have moved Daugherty to take Lincoln”s own words, both public and private, and set them to a song. In Letters from Lincoln, Michael Daugherty creates a musical portrait of a man who expressed his vision with eloquence, and with hope that the human spirit could overcome prejudice and differences of opinion in order to create a better world.
1. Letters From Lincoln: Lincoln’s Funeral Train
2. Letters From Lincoln: Autobiography
3. Letters From Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln Is My Name
4. Letters From Lincoln: Mystic Chords Of Memory
5. Letters From Lincoln: Letter To Mrs. Bixby
6. Letters From Lincoln: Mrs. Lincoln’s Music Box
7. Letters From Lincoln: Gettysburg Address
8. Langsamer Satz
9. Im Sommerwind