Lincoln Elegy

[for orchestra and narrators]

composed for the Williamsport Youth Symphony, Jennifer Sacher Wiley, director: 30 minutes


Granted, there is already a very famous piece for narrator and orchestra about Abraham Lincoln.  But when Jennifer Sacher Wiley commissioned me to write a piece to be performed on the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, I couldn’t resist the challenge.  This piece is very specifically intended for youth orchestras.  Throughout, different orchestra members approach the microphone and narrate for a short time.  Very much unlike Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait”, this piece is very dark, focusing more on Lincoln’s life and struggle than on his lofty rhetoric and victories.  It calls for a small ensemble to be placed behind the audience, and for a violin soloist to be placed in a balcony, positioned where Lincoln sat when he was shot.