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Copland, Aaron: Lincoln Portrait (1942) 14'
for narrator and orchestra

Music Text

arr.from speeches by Abraham Lincoln (E)


2(=picc).2.corA(ad lib).2.bcl(ad lib).2.dbn(ad lib)-4.3(2).3.1-timp. perc(4):glsp/xyl/cyms/sleigh bells/tam-t/BD/SD-harp-cel(ad lib)- strings

Abbreviations (PDF)


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Programme Note

One of Copland's most popular pieces, Lincoln Portrait was commissioned during the early years of the War by conductor Andre Kostelanetz for a program of three new works by American composers. Copland chose excerpts from Lincoln's own words for the narration. The score includes quotations of Springfield Mountain and Camptown Races. According to Copland, "I hoped to suggest something of the mysterious sense of fatality that surrounds Lincoln's personality. The challenge was to compose something simple, yet interesting enoughto fit Lincoln." The piece has been performed on many significant occasions and with innumerable narrators, among them Carl Sandburg, William Warfield, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Copland himself.

-Vivian Perlis, 1998

Recommended Recording

Gregory Peck, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta
Decca 4482612

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