Dusty Grooves: William Sydeman: In Memoriam, J.F. Kennedy (live radio broadcast)

[this is a part of the continuing Audio Archaeology series, where I explore the found reel-to-reels of past recording enthusiasts.]

In November of 1963, young American avant-garde composer William Sydeman was enjoying his major debut. Erich Leinsdorf was conducting a performance of his “Study #2” by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During the performance, word made it to the concert hall about JFK’s assassination. Leinsdorf stopped the performance and made the announcement to a stunned audience. Leinsdorf found copies of the sheet music for Beethoven’s 3rd symphony, and led the orchestra in a performance of the slow movement- the funeral march- in memoriam. You can read more of the story here as well as hear part of that broadcast.

Three years later, to mark the third anniversary of JFK’s passing, Sydeman debuted a new piece called In Memoriam: J.F. Kennedy. It features a young-sounding EG Marshall reading from a speech of Kennedy’s. Once again, as in the interrupted broadcast, the performers are the Boston Symphony conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.

According to the liner notes, this performance was recorded live over the radio. Volume levels are a little erratic, I did my best to level them out. I do hope you enjoy this stirring piece.

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