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Abraham Lincoln and Music

Abraham Lincoln was one of America's most unmusical presidents: he could neither play an instrument nor carry a tune. Yet he had a passionate love of the arts—enjoying everything from sentimental ballads to  nonsense songs, from melodrama to opera. This 3-part audio series explores Lincoln’s relationship to the arts of his time.

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Lincoln and the Theater

Lincoln attended the theater frequently—opera being a particular favorite. In this final episode in the series, we look at the small plays and full-scale spectacles that caught his imagination and interest.


8 Mar 2010

Rank #1

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Lincoln and Political Music

In this second episode, we focus on the political music of Abraham Lincoln’s time—both music created to support the presidential candidates and the music in support—or in protest—of the Civil War.


1 Mar 2010

Rank #2

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Lincoln and Popular Music

Abe Lincoln heard and sang much of the music of his time— popular music like the songs of Stephen Foster, as well as concert music and opera.   In this first of three episodes, we explore the President's love of, and reliance upon, the popular and folk music of the time.


22 Feb 2010

Rank #3