Available October 28, 2016
The American dream is, perhaps by definition, an impossible one. But where would we be without it? This beautiful, impossible dream, of liberty and justice, of a better life in a better place, inspires us, time and again, to achieve the impossible - to journey into the vast unknown, to cross oceans, deserts, and mountains on a wing and a prayer. The Dream brought us here in the first place. The Dream carried the pioneers across miles of wilderness, and called multitudes over oceans and through the gates of Ellis Island. The Dream moved millions of black Americans to migrate north in search of “the warmth of other suns”. The Dream inspired Dr. King to speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and rouse a generation to change. The Dream comes down to us from our parents, and we pass it along to our children. We hold onto the dream; still and again and despite everything, that America will be America again.
Langston Hughes wrote his poem in 1938. It was a different time, and America was a different place. The country was overwhelmed by the decade of depression that had crushed so many American dreams, and threatened by the gathering clouds of the war in Europe. It was a time when circumstances of birth and color of skin posed still-unchallenged restrictions to the liberty and justice that are at the heart of the American promise; divisions between races and religions ran straight down the middle of American life. Martin Luther King was a 10-year-old boy in 1938. His dream, and the dramatic changes it would bring to American history, was still to come.
America was a country divided, troubled, struggling and searching. But still, the dreamers dreamed their dream. Today, as I write these words, we are living again in troubled times. For too many Americans, circumstance and skin color still keep the promise out of reach, the dream deferred. The hard-won rights and long-sought justice for which our parents and grandparents fought are too easily slipping away. The rifts and rivalries that divide us as a nation seem to run deeper than ever. But still, we dreamers keep dreaming our dream.
This music is a tribute to the generations of Americans who dream the impossible: black and white, men and women, immigrants and pioneers. It tells the story of their journeys, their loves and longings, their hardships and their hopes. American music is made of everything we are, coming from so many different people and places, expressing so many different dreams.
I hope this music carries you wherever you chase your dreams – across the sea, over the river, down lonesome roads, even over the rainbow. You can hear in this very American music, born of very American dreams, a promise: that if we keep dreaming, maybe, someday, even our wildest dream will come true.
1. American Caprice, Morton Gould
2. New York Waltzes: I. Waltz in C, Lou Harrison
3. New York Waltzes: II. Hesitation Waltz
4. New York Waltzes: III. Waltz in A
5. Shenandoah, Traditional
6. From Blackbird Hills, Amy Beach
7. Deep River, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
8. Nocturne from Lonesome Roads, Dan Visconti
9. At Sea, Ernest Bloch
10. I Loves You, Porgy, George Gershwin
11. Sueno Recurrente, Angélica Negrón
12. Anniversary for Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein
13. Promise, David Sanford
14. Slumber Song, Howard Hanson
15. Gladiolis Rag, Scott Joplin
16. Blue Skies, Irving Berlin
17. Fantasie Negre, Florence Price
18. Sentimental Melody, Aaron Copland
19. Melancholia, Duke Ellington
20. Li’l Boy Named David, Roy Harris
21. Over the Rainbow, Harold Arlen