Today, February 12th, 2010, marks the 201st year since the birth of one of America’s most beloved Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. The young man born in a log cabin in Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and adopted by Illinois went on to lead a nation during one of its darkest hours.
For the bicentennial last year, the Spokane Symphony commissioned American composer Michael Daugherty to write Letters from Lincoln for baritone and orchestra.
This year brings the release of that premiere from the Spokane Symphony, conducted by Preu Eckart.
The words of the 16th President were sung by baritone Thomas Hampson, who in his own right has done so much in recent years to further the cause of American music past and present.
Letters from Lincoln is a powerfully moving work that paints a portrait of a man caught between the role of Commander in Chief and common man.
Daugherty’s use of folk melodies, and in one case the passion chorale O Sacred Head Now Wounded, blend perfectly with his own music and the words of this amazing and timeless figure.