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Album Review

Carl Sandburg only appears on about 14 minutes of this mid-priced two-CD set, but it's a very important 14 minutes in terms of his artistry and career. The poet/singer's four-decade association with Abraham Lincoln culminated on record in 1958 with his recording of Aaron Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait" with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of the man who commissioned the work, Andre Kostelanetz. Sandburg's relationship to the piece went back 15 years, though he did not narrate it at its debut, but nobody ever narrated it better on record — Sandburg quotes the lines drawn from Lincoln's speeches as though they're his, and his utterance of the framing narrative is done with the gentleness of someone who seems to have known the man, and knew the sadness of losing him; when he speaks on Lincoln being a quiet and a melancholy man, he does it as if he were describing a much-mourned friend, with all of the depth that implied in that description. It's an illusion, but a successful one and totally natural, from a non-actor. Sandburg's voice has a natural fragility that is extraordinary in a recording like this, and separates him from the work of Henry Fonda and most other actors who have recorded this piece. The Philharmonic never played the piece with more feeling, and the recording quality is excellent.


Born: 14 November 1900 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

An American composer of film scores, opera, piano, chamber music, and other forms. Copland is best known for his ballet music ("Appalachian Spring," 1944; "Rodeo," 1942) and his orchestral works ("Lincoln Portrait," 1942; "Fanfare for the Common Man," 1942). Sincerely concerned about relating to a wide public without compromising his music, Copland succeeded brilliantly both with more complex works like the "Piano Variations" and "Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson" (1949-1950)...
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A Copland Celebration, Vol. I, Aaron Copland
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  • 4,99 €
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Spoken Word
  • Released: 05 November 2000

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