A new work by Jennifer Higdon will be premiered on Monday night (February 9) at Carnegie Hall. Thomas Hampson will be featured in the song cycle for baritone and piano titled Civil Words. It was commissioned by Carnegie Hall. In Higdon’s own words:
“Civil Words” is a song cycle of text derived from the Civil War. They are, however, universal texts that are applicable to any conflict, and a reminder that the basic elements of war do not change with time.
The cycle begins with a mother sending a child off to war and ends with a father’s discovery of a son, long gone. In between are the stories of a soldier’s death, a leader’s hopes, and the marking of great loss.
In order to represent the universal effects of war, I set poems by men and women, about life and death, and from the famous to the unknown. “Civil Words” is dedicated, with great admiration and appreciation, to Thomas Hampson.
Also on the program Monday evening is a work by Margaret Bonds – “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”. Like many of her songs, this work uses text from Langston Hughes.