Lukas Foss, Composer at Home in Many Stylistic Currents, Dies at 86 (The New York Times obit) Back in June of 2007 Laurie (my girlfriend from elementary school days) was in the chorus of the revival of Lukas Foss’s major cantata, “The Prairie.” It had been decades since this work was heard in a New York performance.
The concert at the Rose Theater celebrated Foss’s 85th birthday, and he was present for the concert celebration. Professional soloists were backed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic and The Greenwich Village Singers (Laurie has been a longtime member) with the Choral Society of the Hamptons forming a chorus of over 100 voices.
Laurie said the piece reminds her a bit of Gershwin, with some Copeland-esque sounds, “but it is not at all derivative–in fact, it’s wholly original and just a very cool piece of music. Very difficult not to like, even for those of you who do not ordinarily listen to choral music.”
You can read more about An American Awakening: The Rediscovery of a Choral Masterpiece on The Prairie Project website. The text, which was adapted by the composer from Carl Sandburg’s “The Prairie,” is posted there, along with the composer’s commentary a seen in the program from the 1944.