Civil War Memories

Excerpt: “Inside Out”


Instrumentation: Stereo Fixed Media
Duration: 19:00 (Inside Out, 9:14 may be performed separately)
Commission: Jane Franklin Dance
Premiere: 4/30/05
Gunston Theatre One, Alexandria, VA

Program Note:
Civil War Memories is based on short fragments of letters and descriptions from the Civil War era. My colleague and noted Civil War historian Ed Ayers kindly read several of these passages, and composer Joe Adkins sang a verse from Rally Round the Flag, as well as read other passages. I am grateful to them for their participation and permission to use these recordings. The first movement, Clear Cut, was inspired by a description of the falling of a whole hillside of timber, so the troops might march through. The second movement, Inside Out, is based on Ed Ayer’s reading of a short excerpt by Frank Wilkeson, a private soldier in the Army of the Potomac, describing the horrors of the robbing of dead soldiers. Farewell is based on my own reading of Marion Southwood’s description of some 20,000 people, mainly women and children, bidding their dear ones goodbye.

Inside Out may be presented as a separate movement. Its text is as follows: “The dead men lay where they fell. Their haversacks and cartridges had been taken from their bodies. The battle-field ghouls had rifled their pockets. I saw no dead man that night whose pockets had not been turned inside out.” –JS

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