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
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
Another big favorite of Lincoln's was a kind of "crossover" artist, Louis Moreau Gottschalk
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
George Bush's iPod
John Lennon's "iPod"
What *I* listened to on my iPod before I lost it