by Jarrett Hoffman
There are several stirring moments in Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, a piece that combines music with excerpts of oratory by Abraham Lincoln. One of those moments comes about two-thirds of the way through, when a rousing crescendo in the percussion follows a select few lines from the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates:
It is the eternal struggle between two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world. It is the same spirit that says, ‘You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.’ No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation, and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.