A work "as inspired as Copland's for Lincoln Portrait"
-Ron Emery, the Times Union
"A Wonderful piece!"
-David Alan Miller, Music Director,
the Albany Symphony Orchestra

Instrumentation: 3333/4331/2+timp/hp./Stgs and narrator
Duration: ca. 15 minutes
Performance history: Albany Symphony Orchestra (Ed Dague, NBC affiliate anchor, narrator), Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, LeRoy Lehr, (bass-baritone Metropolitan Opera) narrator.
Publisher: TR: A "Bully" Portrait is published by Coho Music Publications
The Full Score is available for purchase....$25.00 USD (emailed as a PDF attachment). For orchestra directors requesting a perusal score, click here

A master set of parts is available for purchase....$85.00 USD ( emailed as a PDF attachment)

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Program notes

The music of TR: A "Bully" Portrait seeks to capture Theodore Roosevelt's inexhaustible vitality and his profound sentiments. While researching TR's life, I came upon a recording of one of his speeches. His rapid-fire, well-punctuated delivery inspired the overall spirit of my piece and provided a rhythmic motive used throughout the work. The many up-tempo, "spirited" passages in this composition were inspired by my discovery that TR was quite a boy at heart.  It was easy to imagine him looking at the orchestra (as one might look at a sports vehicle) and saying, "let's see what these musicians can do."


But TR's energetic spirit was equally matched by his keen intellect. His progressive ideas expressed in his writings and speeches form the centerpiece of my composition. His powerful words represent progressive thoughts on a variety of issues such as conservation, political equality, and civic duty. Through my music, I intended to give his words yet another "bully pulpit" --a device which TR used so effectively.


Lastly, it should be mentioned that in writing a work for narrator and orchestra, one other issue instantly presented itself to me. How was I going to address the standard by which all works for narrator and orchestra are judged, namely, Copland's A Lincoln Portrait? Fortunately, my solution came from history itself. TR was himself a great admirer of Lincoln and, as a boy, he had witnessed Lincoln's funeral procession. Consequently, this created an archway into my own composition. My work opens with a paraphrase from  Lincoln Portrait, to symbolize the reverence which TR held for Lincoln, and I hold for Copland.




I. Prologue

On April 25, 1865, Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession slowly wound its way through the streets of lower Manhattan. Thousands of New Yorkers lined the streets, thousands more gazed from building windows. From a 2nd story window not far from Union Square, a six year old boy strained to view the horse-drawn casket....That boy was Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt...26th President of the United States. Theodore Roosevelt, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, builder of the Panama Canal; Police Commissioner of New York City, Governor of New York State; Theodore Roosevelt; author, historian, adventurer, explorer, protector, defender, provider for those less fortunate.

II. The "Strenuous Life"

Action, involvement. That's what Roosevelt demanded of himself and expected of others. As Roosevelt said:

"It ought to be axiomatic in this country that every man must devote a reasonable share of his time to doing his duty in the political life of the community" ..."If freedom is worth having, if the right of self-government is a valuable right, then the one and the other must be retained exactly as our forefathers acquired them, by labor...." "People who say they have not time to attend to politics are simply saying that they are unfit to live in a free community. Their place is under a despotism..."

Action, involvement, the "strenuous life." These things are what Roosevelt demanded of himself and expected of others: "It is not the critic who counts," he said, "not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better, The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no great effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who at best, knows in the end triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

III. Roosevelt the Conservationist

Born in New York City, Theodore Roosevelt's arena was the nation's vast open spaces. From rambles in the Adirondack Mountains to cattle ranching in the Dakota Badlands, Roosevelt lived with nature, respected nature and fought for its preservation:

"I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."... "Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method." "There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."

Theodore Roosevelt was not born into poverty, like Lincoln. But his concern was always for those less fortunate than himself. "A Square deal," he called it, a square deal.  "The principles for which we stand are the principles of fair play and a square deal for every man, and every woman in the United States," he said.  "We must see that every man and every woman is given a square deal, because each is entitled to no more and should receive no less." "A square deal in manners social, a square deal in business... A square deal politically!"

V. The Object of Government

"The object of government is the welfare of the people," he said. "It is all-essential to the continuance of our healthy national life that we should recognize this community of interest among our people. The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us, and therefore in public life that man is the best representative of each of us who seeks to do good to each by doing good to all..whose endeavor it is not to represent any special class,...but to represent all true and honest men of all sections and all classes and to work for their interests by working for our common country."...

"The object of government is the welfare of the people," he said. "Let the watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty, decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense..." "Let us never forget our duty to help in uplifting the lowly, to shield from wrong the humble; and let us likewise act in a spirit of generosity toward all our fellow countrymen, in a spirit proceeding not from weakness but from strength, a spirit which takes no more account of locality than it does of class or of creed; a spirit which is resolutely bent on seeing that the Union which Washington founded and which Lincoln saved from destruction shall grow nobler and greater through the ages."

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