August 4, 1964

A Concert Drama

Steven Stucky

Rental
Performing Ensemble: Chorus and Orchestra
Text: Libretto by Gene Scheer
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

August 4, 1964 was commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the 100th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson?s birth. It focuses on two events that came to a head on August 4, 1964, events that defined LBJ's presidency and defined that time for many Americans: the discovery of the bodies of three slain civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and the bombing of North Vietnam, which accelerated U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war.

Several people who worked in LBJ?s White House were consulted by Stucky and Scheer, including longtime United States District Judge and counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Harold Barefoot Sanders, Jr., and Harry Middleton, a Johnson speechwriter and, later, Director of the LBJ Library and Museum. Scheer?s libretto was thoroughly researched at the LBJ Library and elsewhere, and includes actual words from transcripts of White House phone conversations and government documents, as well as letters from the mothers of the slain civil rights workers. In fact, over 95% of the words sung are the actual words of people involved in those turbulent times.

At the conclusion of the piece, a haunting poem by Englishman Sir Stephen Harold Spender, noted for his works expressing the politically conscience-stricken, is set to music. This poem held special meaning for the mother of stricken civil rights worker Andrew Goodman.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Composition Date 2008
Duration 01:10:00
Orchestration Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Baritone soli; SATB Chorus; 3(2 dbl. A.Fl., 3 dbl.Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3(dbl.Picc.) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Str.
Premiere 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st September, 2008. Laquita Mitchell/Soprano, Kelley O?Connor/Mezzo-soprano, Vale Rideout/Tenor, Robert Orth/Baritone, Dallas Symphony Chorus (David Davidson, Director); Dallas Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jaap van Zweden.

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