Powerful Music Delivered in ‘Letters from Lincoln’

For the Lincoln bicentennial, the Spokane Symphony commissioned American composer Michael Daugherty to write Letters from Lincoln for baritone and orchestra.

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.

Music Heard On This Episode

Michael Daugherty (b. 1954): Letters from Lincoln
Thomas Hampson, bar.; Preu Eckart/Spokane Symphony — Letters from Lincoln (Koch Records, 2010)
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album cover
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954): Letters from Lincoln
Thomas Hampson, bar.; Preu Eckart/Spokane Symphony — Letters from Lincoln (Koch Records, 2010)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
David Wood

Originally from Leavenworth, Kansas, David Wood moved to Bloomington in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Music from Kansas State University, and his Master of Music from the University of North Texas. He studied ensemble direction at the Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute and joined WFIU in 2006 as an announcer. In 2008 he became WFIU's Music Director and also served as Art Bureau Chief from 2008-2013. David’s interests include Irish music and language (particularly traditional singing), music and religion, running, the outdoors, and, of course, classical music!

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  • Rita Wood

    Beautiful! Not only American Music, but a wonderful American baritone, Thomas Hampson, who is truly a remarkable vocalist and music historian.

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