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Daugherty provides a suitably monumental score for his evocation of Gutzon Borglum’s presidential folly in the Black Hills of North Dakota. The music resonates with the pride and hope of a much younger nation. Daugherty is always clever with texts, and here he uses material associated with the four executives represented – Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln – to create a work that makes clever use of a divided choir (Washington as revolutionary blade and wise president), of popular tunes (‘Yankee Doodle’, the anthem ‘Chester’), and of the natural rhythmic cadence of the Gettysburg Address for the long closing section that also meditates musically on division and healing, conflict and resolution. The Pacific Chorale is in the best traditions of American secular/vernacular singing, everything as clear as speech. The accompanying orchestral works are excellent, too.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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