Thomas Hampson's American Song; Part Two: War and the Spirit

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
October 16, 2009
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St. Paul, Minn. — Thomas Hampson chose Minnesota Bluff Country to begin his "Song of America" tour.

"These songs - our songs - say everything about the culture we call American. We need these songs in our cultural landscape."
- Thomas Hampson

His program knit together texts by Walt Whitman and Tennessee Williams alongside songs originating as poems by E.A. Robinson and Langston Hughes, among others.

Hampson arranged his music coloristically and thematically rather than chronologically. That freedom allowed Hampson to expand more fully upon several of our national preoccupations.

This section of the recital begins with two songs set to text by one of America's most profound voices, poet Walt Whitman.

Following is a gripping telling of the horrors of World War I by the American composer Charles Ives, "In Flanders Fields."

The set concludes with more Whitman in the hands of Leonard Bernstein.

War and the Spirit:

W. H. Neidlinger - Memories of Lincoln

Charles Naginski - Look Down Fair Moon

Charles Ives - In Flanders Fields

Elinore Remick Warren - God Be in my Heart

Virgil Thomson - The Divine Image

Leonard Bernstein - To What You Said

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This recital was recorded by Cameron Wiley at Somsen Auditorium in Winona on July 9, 2009.

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