Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait was inspired by conductor Andre Kostelanetz, who suggested he compose a portrait of a eminent American. Kostelanetz debuted the work with the Cincinnati Symphony in the summer of 1942, and it has since become a widely popular concert favorite.
The text in Lincoln Portrait is primarily derived from the speeches and writings of our sixteenth President. An impressive list of actors, politicians, astronauts and other celebrities have narrated the piece over the years. President Obama read the text with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2005.
Now that this cycle’s political conventions have passed and we are left with utterly uninspiring candidates, we thought it would provide some solace to hear the words of a President who appealed to “the better angels of our nature.”
This 1968 recording from Columbia’s “Copland Conducts Copland” series is narrated by Henry Fonda.