Issued on Cincinnati’s own Fanfare label, the Symphony’s new album, “Hallowed Ground,” finds unexpected connections between Lang, composer of hard, bitter pieces with titles like Cheating, Lying, Stealing, and Aaron Copland, the universally beloved composer of such canonical Americana as Lincoln Portrait. Copland’s chestnut is presented here with narration by the late, equally beloved Maya Angelou, whose narration – coming from a deep understanding of the text – offers it the noble but very human voice that the piece requires. She is a comforting presence, but her voice, recorded just half a year before her death, comes tinged with the sorrow of experience. Conductor Louis Langrée’s often brash interpretation hardly shies away from the music’s reminders of the violence that defined the Lincoln presidency.
Angelou brought vast authority to her task, speaking the 16th president’s words with clarity, dignity, and presence.
... the Cincinnati Symphony in 1942, highlighted the ensemble’s characteristic sound: the different sections adroitly balanced and focused yet never harsh, with bronzed, burnished brasses infusing a strings section that plays with warm, cohesive bite. Ms. Angelou brought her inimitable combination of majesty and folksiness to the speaking part, drawn from Lincoln’s writings, ferociously digging into the final words of the Gettysburg Address.
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Recording is Mastered for iTunes by Apple Certified Mastering Engineer Chelsea VandeDrink
Her eloquent narration of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln’s Portrait, will be remembered as one of the inspiring moments in the life of this city.