Collaborator: Barack Obama (text)
Song Type: a capella, choral, SAB
Associated Artists: Pasadena Presbyterian Church
“Throughout February, we’ve presented new works by contemporary composers based on words of 16 American presidents, in recordings by conductor Judith Clurman and Essential Voices USA. Today, words from the current Commander-in-Chief come alive in music by Georgia Stitt.” — listen on NPR
Words from Barack Obama’s 2008 Inauguration Speech, Music by Georgia Stitt
Part of a collection of 16 pieces including composers Jake Heggie, Milton Babbitt, Nico Muhly, Jason Robert Brown, Andrew Lippa, Samuel Adler and more.
Written in 2009.
Published by G. Schirmer and edited by Judith Clurman.
WITH HOPE AND VIRTUE
LET US BRAVE ONCE MORE
THE ICY CURRENTS
AND ENDURE WHAT STORMS MAY COME.
YES WE CAN.
Notes from the composer:
Judy Clurman approached me about setting some of President Obama’s text from his 2009 Inaugural Address, and it was her idea that the piece be a round. I wanted to make the piece easy enough that high school students could perform it, but not so easy that it lacked a bit of challenge. What I most loved about Obama’s campaign was the way he managed to draw supporters from such diverse groups of people, so I looked for ways to build opposition and tension – the musical manifestation of diversity – into the lines. As the melodic statement goes by three times, you’ll hear the clash of the major and minor seventh running into each other in the melody, and you’ll hear the pull of the duple against triple in the rhythm. After all that, the three lines come together in a chorale and manage to find consonance and strength, landing on the powerful slogan that guided our president’s campaign: Yes we can.
— Georgia Stitt, October 2009, Los Angeles