Stucky LBJ Work Premieres Tonight
© Hoebermann Studio
Dallas, TX (September 18, 2008) – Yaddo composer Steven Stucky’s newest work, August 4, 1964, an oratorio focused on the events of a single day in the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson, receives its world premiere tonight with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Dallas, Texas.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and librettist Gene Scheer have teamed up to create a major new work in observance of the 100th birthday of the nation’s 36th president. The commissioned piece – for four vocal soloists, full chorus, and orchestra – is centered on a day in which events collide with historical ramifications representative of the turbulent 1960s. On August 4, 1964, the bodies of three civil rights workers who had been missing for seven weeks were discovered just as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, a catalyst for escalation of America’s military involvement in Vietnam, was unfolding.
August 4, 1964 addresses the broad impact of the events of that day and offers a glimpse into the lives of four principal characters: President Johnson; his defense secretary Robert McNamara; Carolyn Goodman, the mother of murdered civil rights worker Andrew Goodman; and Fannie Lee Chaney, the mother of James Chaney, a Freedom Movement activist and Mississippi native who also was murdered. The piece concludes with a poem by Sir Stephen Harold Spender set to music. The poem held special meaning for Carolyn Goodman.
Jaap van Zweden conducts the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with David R. Davidson directing the chorus for performances Thursday through Sunday. Featured soloists are soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor Vale Rideout, and baritone Robert Orth.
For dates, times, and ticket information, click here.