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Abraham Lincoln Portraits Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, February 24, 2009
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Lincoln, the Great CommonerLeonard Slatkin 3:44$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. A Lincoln Address, Op. 124Leonard Slatkin13:20Album Only
listen  3. Abraham Lincoln Walks at MidnightAnthony LaMarchina14:05Album Only
listen  4. Ford's Theater: I. PreambleLeonard Slatkin 1:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Ford's Theater: II. Walt Whitman and the Dying SoldierLeonard Slatkin 2:42$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Ford's Theater: III. Passing TroopsLeonard Slatkin 2:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Ford's Theater: IV. The Telegraph Fugue (an Etude for Strings - with Timpani)Leonard Slatkin 5:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Ford's Theater: V. Moonlight on the SavannahLeonard Slatkin 2:02$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Ford's Theater: VI. The TheatreLeonard Slatkin 1:26$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. Ford's Theater: VII. The River QueenLeonard Slatkin 2:24$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. Ford's Theater: VIII. Premonitions (A Duett With A Hall Clock)Leonard Slatkin 1:51$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. Ford's Theater: IX. Pennsylvania Avenue, April 9, 1865Leonard Slatkin 3:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen13. Ford's Theater: X. Good Friday, 1865Leonard Slatkin 3:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen14. Ford's Theater: XI. The Long RainLeonard Slatkin 1:15$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen15. Ford's Theater: XII. ConclusionLeonard Slatkin 1:35$0.89  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Lincoln LegendLeonard Slatkin16:40Album Only
listen  2. To a Liberator: I. EvocationLeonard Slatkin 3:01$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. To a Liberator: II. Choral SceneLeonard Slatkin 2:48$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. To a Liberator: III. MarchLeonard Slatkin 2:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. To a Liberator: IV. DeclarationLeonard Slatkin0:43$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. To a Liberator: V. EpilogueLeonard Slatkin 2:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Variations on an American Song: Aspects of Lincoln and Liberty, Op. 20Leonard Slatkin 9:10Album Only
listen  8. Lincoln PortraitLeonard Slatkin14:23Album Only

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Nashville Symphony
  • Composer: Charles Ives, Vincent Persichetti, Roy Harris, Ernst Bacon, Morton Gould, et al.
  • Audio CD (February 24, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • ASIN: B001NZA04W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,895 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth President of the United States, has inspired many works of literature, art and music.
To celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, the Nashville Symphony, Leonard Slatkin and Naxos have selected eight important works by leading American composers, some setting Lincoln s own immortal words, some words of poets inspired by him, others based on Lincoln s life and ideals.

Turok's Variations on an American Song: Aspects of Lincoln and Liberty is based on a folk tune Lincoln used as a campaign song, Rosin the Bow.


Abraham Lincoln Portraits" is a two-disc set by Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony, containing eight works about Lincoln by Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Morton Gould, Roy Harris, Charles Ives, George McKay, Vincent Persichetti and Paul Turok (8.559373-74). Bacon's Ford's Theatre draws on folklore, is colorful music and easy listening. Copland's familiar Lincoln Portrait receives a rousing performance.Gould's Lincoln Legend is a sensitive, sometimes brilliant but over-long work. Harris's setting of Vachel Lindsay's Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight is for voice and piano trio. It is one of Harris's most successful pieces of chamber music, expertly performed by mezzo Sharon Mabry, the orchestra's principals (Mary Kathryn Van Osdale, Anthony LaMarchina) and pianist Roger Wiesmeyer. Ives's choral setting of Edwin Markham's Lincoln, the Great Commoner is short, typical in its use of extensive quotations and enjoyable. McKay's To a Liberator (A Lincoln Tribute), with its lovely choral movement, is one of his best pieces. Persichetti's A Lincoln Address, like all his music, is beautifully crafted but lacks individual profile. Nonetheless, it is impressive in its straightforward clarity (the fine narrator is Barry Scott, also in the Copland). Turok's Aspects of Lincoln and Liberty, variations on a Lincoln campaign song, could not have received a better played and interpreted performance. Ordinarily, TC refrains from commenting further, but the work is beautifully orchestrated -- Turok's Choice, Paul Turok, April 2009

This two-disc issue contains a variety of tributes to Abraham Lincoln by American composers that celebrates the bi-centennial of the great statesman's birth. Some set Lincoln's words to music - instrumental, vocal and choral. Others set poets' words about Lincoln to music and "the purely instrumental selections draw their inspiration from events in Lincoln's life." Ives' brief choral work, Lincoln, The Great Commoner uses brief excerpts of well known American hymns entangled in a complex orchestral tapestry. Persichetti's A Lincoln Address was commissioned for Richard Nixon's 1973 inauguration and then withdrawn because the composer wouldn't excise parts of Lincoln's second inaugural address that might have ruffled some about America's participation in the Vietnam War. It's a reverential but uninspired work with a quiet, moving conclusion.

Roy Harris' Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, A Cantata for Lamentation for mezzo-soprano and piano trio is set to a poem by Vachel Lindsay. It's a touching tribute to Lincoln's hopes and fears that's relevant today as the world searches for the peace Lincoln so fervently held close to his heart. This work is one of the best in the set. Ernst Bacon's half-hour orchestral suite, Ford's Theatre: A Few Glimpses of Easter Week 1865 comprises twelve miniatures that memorialize the events of the week that Lincoln was assassinated. Highlights include a jazzy march, "Passing Troops," a leisurely ode to life on a riverboat, "The River Queen," and a harrowing and poignant depiction of the day Lincoln was assassinated, "Good Friday, 1865." It's effective program music, very well performed and recorded.

McKay's To a Liberator (A Lincoln Tribute) of 1940 is homage to the democratic ideals embodied by Lincoln. The lovely choral movement stands out, but the remainder is unmemorable. Paul Turok's Variations on an American Song: Aspects of Lincoln and Liberty (1964) is an ingeniously scored set of theme and variations based on seven different notes that "replicates some of the patriotic swagger of Lincoln's 1859 presidential campaign. Its rollicking vitality is convincing.

The final work, the classic and well known Copland score, Lincoln Portrait, here receives a facile, spirited and monumental performance. Narrator Barry Scott - founder and producing artistic director of the American Negro Playwright Theatre - delivers Lincoln's memorable words with a dramatic urgency and conviction that is overwhelming. This American masterpiece is given the kind of performance that brought tears to my eyes and is worth the price of the disc alone.

This disc is valuable more as musical evidence of the power of Lincoln to move composers rather than revealing works of musical significance. Nevertheless, there's much pleasure here and then there is the Copland... -- Audiophile Audition, Robert Moon, May 26, 2009

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By CD Maniac on March 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Kudos to the Nashville Symphony for their commitment to recording American repertoire, and often unjustly-neglected repertoire at that. This 2-disc set contains several rare gems from American composers of the 20th century--all with the subject of Abraham Lincoln.
The only well-known (and obvious) selection is Copland's "Lincoln Portrait". The Nashville Symphony holds its own against any major orchestra in their performance of this work. But what sets it apart is the outstanding narration (and amazing voice) of Barry Scott. You have to hear it for yourself.
The rest of these pieces are virtually unknown, but are well worth having. Among the best is the "Lincoln Legend" by Morton Gould. Written during the emotion-filled days of World War II (from which several of these pieces date), it is a tribute to Lincoln, with episodes suggesting periods in Lincoln's life. One can't imagine a better recording of this work. Similar in form is McKay's "To a Liberator". McKay is a forgotten Seattle composer being rediscovered (thanks to recordings on Naxos). It suggests the feelings and ideals of Lincoln in several different episodes. Especially effective in the choral scene, with the wordless (and excellent) Nashville Symphony Chorus. Paul Turok, is less known for his compositions than for his magazine "Turok's Choice" which contained reviews of classical recordings. His piece is the "Variations on an American Song"--that song being a song used during the Lincoln's presidential campaign. It is a buoyant and well-crafted short piece. One suspects that there is a lot more of Turok that should be recorded.
The short piece by Charles Ives is, well, wacky. (If you can figure out what he was trying to do, let me know.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J.B. on March 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Abraham Lincoln Portraits
This CD represnts a beautiful compilation of "Abraham Lincoln Portraits" in this his bicentennial year. Impressive is this selection of a variety of twentieth century composers, some better known than others.

As a subscriber to "Turok's Choice", I am familiar with Paul Turok's monthly newsletter which reviews and updates classical recordings. The beauty of "Variations on an American Song: Aspects of Lincoln and Liberty" is particularly harmonious and delightful.

The performances by the Nashville Symphony with Leonard Slatkin are superb. I highly recommend this intriguing recording.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Galen K. Johnson on September 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am very pleased, in this 200th anniversary year of Lincoln's birth, to have this collection of Lincoln inspired music in one place.
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By J. R. Trtek TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 23, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This two-disc set compiles mostly obscure musical works centering on Abraham Lincoln, mixed in with one or two more familiar pieces. It's a worthwhile concept, though I have to admit that to my tastes we probably could have gotten by with just one disc instead. The most well-known composition in this release is Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait for narrator and orchestra, a piece that has enjoyed a few notable recordings. This one, though, is utterly magnificent. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Orchestra do their part admirably, and the voice of Barry Scott is magnificent. My second favorite work is Paul Turok's Variations on an American Song, that being Lincoln and Liberty, an 1860 campaign song, though the melody comes from the folksong Old Rosin the Beau. The strength of Turok's composition comes from that venerable tune. Morton Gould contributes his Lincoln Legend, which also draws on music of the time. The remaining pieces, I must admit, were much less satisfying. A short work by Charles Ives, Lincoln the Great Commoner, was on the one hand classic Ives, which on the other hand meant that for me it was hit or miss -- in this case, miss. Vincent Persichetti's A Lincoln Address is conceptually much like the end of the Copland piece, in this case utilizing Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. The words, of course, constitute one of the great speeches of history, and Persichetti's music is interesting and engaging, but together I found that the two elements tended to clash with each other, while in the Copland words and music compliment each other. Roy Harris' Abraham Lincoln walks at Midnight succeeds, though I didn't find it memorable. That same judgment applies to George McKay's composition To a Liberator. Finally, Ernst Bacon's contribution was incidental music to a play.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Leonard Slatkin chose 8 pieces from 90 possibilities of Lincoln-related orchestral works, a few of them with chorus or narrator. Some of the pieces, such as Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," are well-known. Others are much less so but are being re-discovered, partly thanks to this CD. One of my favorites, Ernst Bacon's "Ford's Theatre," is a picturesque and profound description of the last week of Lincoln's life. It should have a permanent place in the repertoire.
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Topic From this Discussion
Abraham Lincoln Portraits album conducted by Leonard Slatkin
I particularly enjoy Ernst Bacon's FORD'S THEATRE on these discs. It is a poignant description of some of the events during Lincoln's last week of life. All of the movements are interesting, but I especially love "The Telegraph Fugue," scored for strings and tympani. What a wonderful... Read More
Jul 23, 2009 by I. Lipscomb |  See all 2 posts
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