Monday, July 27, 2009

MUSIC: If Abraham Lincoln Had An iPod

As usual, I'm late putting this up late. The 200th anniversary for Lincoln's birthday was back in February. But as I'm always interested on what people are listening to on their mp3 players - I watched a show on John Lennon's "iPod" and reprinted a piece on George Bush's from the BBC. So here's Abraham Lincoln. If anybody knows of similar stuff, please let me know! - OlderMusicGeek

If Abraham Lincoln Had An iPod
By Mike Hoffman

February 16, 2009 - To celebrate Presidents' Day, we have conjured up Abraham Lincoln, but in a less-than-presidential pose: with earbuds dangling from his ears.

Classical music commentator Miles Hoffman agreed to explore the 16th president's musical tastes, as well as what music Lincoln might have chosen for his iPod, had he owned one.

The Lincoln iPod would have needed a lot of memory, as the president apparently enjoyed all sorts of music and loved opera. His love of opera apparently got him into trouble during the Civil War, when he was taken to task for attending a performance while the war was ongoing. To this, the president responded, "The truth is I must have a change of some sort, or die."

"We know that Lincoln liked the opera Martha, by Friedrich von Flotow, and had it performed during the festivities for his second inaugural," Hoffman says. "Martha is not performed very often now, and it's mainly known for one very beautiful aria, 'Ach so fromm,' where the male romantic lead, Lionel, sings a love song to the title character, Martha. "We also know that one month before he died - on March 15, 1865 - Lincoln attended a performance of Mozart 's Magic Flute at the National Theatre in Washington," Hoffman says.

Another big favorite of Lincoln's was a kind of "crossover" artist, Louis Moreau Gottschalk . A Southerner by birth, born in New Orleans, Gottschalk was a one-of-a-kind composer, a virtuoso pianist and, perhaps surprisingly, a supporter of the Union cause. One of his most famous pieces is The Union (Fantasy on Patriotic Airs). When you listen to the beginning of the piece, it sounds like any flashy, 19th-century European virtuoso piano piece. But then Gottschalk launches into the tunes we all know, treating them in his own inimitable way.

Lincoln was also partial to popular music and sentimental ballads, such as the songs of Stephen Foster. One of his favorites was an old Scottish love ballad called "Annie Laurie."

Remarkably, No. 1 on Lincoln's iPod might have been his all-time favorite, "Dixie."
"It had already been a popular song before the Civil War and came from a minstrel show," Hoffman says. "Lincoln had been quoted as saying, 'I have always thought "Dixie" one of the best tunes I have ever heard.' "

"After the war," Hoffman adds, "he is reported to have said, 'That tune is now federal property, and it is good to show the rebels that, with us in power, they will be free to hear it again.' "

David Lewis (UncleDave) wrote...
Lincoln's favorite song, it is reported, was "Listen to the Mockingbird." The polymorphously prolix composer Anthony Phillip Heinrich once played a concert at the Lincoln White House, according to John Tasker Howard. After Heinrich was done playing one his heavy, florid and long compositions, Lincoln innocently asked, "Couldn't you just play 'Listen to the Mocking Bird'?" Heinrich obliged with an improvised set of variations on the tume, which pleased the Lincolns greatly, but left Heinrich less than happy.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 11:02:44 AM

TJ Wilkinson (bullmoose) wrote...
A very nice piece, although the story did fail to mention that Lincoln was a devotee of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. No doubt a fair number of the songs of Burns would have appeared on Lincoln's "iPod" as well.
Ironically, 2009 marks the 250th anniversary of Burns's birth on January 25th.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 11:20:37 AM

Catherine Loomis (TS2_1_181) wrote...
Lincoln's i-Pod would also include sound recordings of Shakespeare's plays. I try to get my students to listen to them, since they rarely have a chance to watch the plays performed.
Monday, February 16, 2009 5:50:22 PM

A link to the original site
George Bush's iPod
John Lennon's "iPod"
What *I* listened to on my iPod before I lost it

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This is a fairly good sampling of some of the music I listen to. It's missing a few genres I like - such as cajun. I'll work on that later. But it does contain most of my favorite artists. I tried to steer away from the better known songs to give you a better idea of what kind of music the artists play, but I was limited by the songs the website - Project Playlist - had available. But if you want to get an idea of what I listen to, just hit the play or arrow button. - OlderMusicGeek

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This website, OlderMusicGeek Radio on Pandora.com, does a fairly decent job of playing what I like, although they do occasionally play stuff I don't care for, but overall they're pretty good.