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Robert Olson Photograph

America: A Salute to Abraham Lincoln

Saturday April 11, 2015 - 7:30 pm.
Vance Brad Civic Auditorium
Skyline High School
600 E Mountain View Ave, Longmont, CO 80504

Robert Olson- Conductor

Abigail Nimms - mezzo-soprano
David Rutherford - narrator

A Salute to Abraham Lincoln

We conclude our “Passport Series” right here in the good ole USA, celebrating not only our homeland but the President most idealized in our history, Abraham Lincoln. 
We open the concert with a wonderful work that captures the mellifluous and religious fervor of an 18th century composer, William Billings.  In three, short movements, Schumann’s New England Triptych uses many of Billing’s melodies to reflect attitudes and beliefs of the citizens of the New England area at that time.  From Be Glad Then, America to When Jesus Wept, each movement is a wonderful gem of early Americana.
Many people know of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, a great work celebrating our greatest president, but few people even know of a similar composition written by another American composer, Vincent Persichetti.  Both utilize the words from Lincoln and musically portray the strength of character of this complicated man.  Some of you long-time-supporters may remember many years ago -- I’m guessing around 27 years ago -- Colorado’s governor Dick Lamm was our narrator.  How times have changed!  I will never forget how Governor Lamm drove to Longmont by himself, and sat in the auditorium by himself waiting for his turn to rehearse the piece.  While Lamm did a fine job, we are blessed with a great narrator, and now no stranger to the LSO stage, David Rutherford.  With his wonderful radio voice, both the Copland and the Persichetti promise to be moving experiences.
Who was the real Leonard Bernstein --- composer, or conductor?  This question haunted Bernstein himself during the course of his life, and the answer is probably  “both”.  I’m a huge fan of Bernstein’s music, for it is inventive, spirited, melodic, and extremely passionate because of its Jewish inspiration.  His first symphony,  subtitled the “Jeremiah Symphony”, follows the story of the prophet Jeremiah, using texts from the Book of Lamentations in the Hebrew Bible.  From crazy alternating dance rhythms to the outcry of the mezzo-soprano’s laments, it is a highly effective and moving work.
There is a change in the soloist for the Bernstein.  Abi Nimms, spectacular mezzo on the faculty of the University of Colorado, is expecting her first child right around the time of this concert, so we are  pleased to present Sarah Barber in her place.  “Surly, steamy, sensuous …. “ wrote the Palo Alto Weekly regarding a Carmen she sang  … the perfect blend for the Jeremiah Symphony.

Robert Olson, conductor


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