Carl Sandburg Reader [Wind Ens] – Sets
David Maslanka

A Carl Sandburg Reader

for Wind Ensemble with Baritone Narrator/Singer and Female Folk Song Singer
41 min.   •   
   •   Grade 6
Product Type: Sets

I remember seeing Carl Sandburg being interviewed on the “Today” program sometime in the 1950’s. He was an old man, still physically alert, with a keen mind and a ready sense of humor. It must have been amazing, and a good laugh for him, a person born in the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, to be interviewed on TV. To me, who had grown up with his poetry as a schoolchild, he knew so much about America that he seemed the embodiment of it. And yet he was the child of immigrants and spoke Swedish at home…as I was the grandchild of immigrants, though kept from the Polish language in order to be made into an American. It took me many years to break out of the “immigrant” mentality of “us against everybody,” and to realize that America was mine, deeply and completely mine. Carl Sandburg, with his poetry and his other writings, especially the monumental Lincoln biography, has been a life- long companion as I have searched for my own American roots.

In A Carl Sandburg Reader I have tried to let Sandburg’s voice tell his own take on the human condition – the masses, the poor, war, cynicism, faith, hope, acceptance – and to tell the story as well with his beloved folk songs. For this auspicious occasion of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Illinois State University I wanted a musical celebration, using the words of a native son of the Illinois prairie, that would speak deeply to our past, our present, and our future.

What a terrific and enlightening experience! We will hopefully have an opportunity to recreate this wonderful music sometime in the near future.

Stephen Steele, Illinois State University

I listened to it straight through the first sitting and thought it was great. Since then, I find myself listening through the piece over and over again.

Martin Lenard

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