O, For Such a Dream
for soprano solo, mixed chorus and piano (1990 / 2006)
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21 June 2007
Festive Voices / Roger Lamb
Letter of Ann Smith to her husband David, August 16, 1864
During the summer of 1990 in Sweet Briar, Virginia, while in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts — as the United States began moving armed forces into the Gulf — I set words from a letter of 16 August 1864 from Ann Smith to her husband David that underlined the human toll the prosecution of war takes. The resulting song was part of a cycle for soprano, flute, and piano entitled Dear Youth. Sixteen years later, Robin Bourguignon, the soprano who first sang Dear Youth, asked me to choose one of the songs to reinterpret for mixed chorus. Because plus ça change...plus c'est la même chose I was compelled to say yes. I chose 'O for Such a Dream,' the text for which I originally drew from Who Only Stand and Wait: Civil War Letters of David and Ann Smith, 1863-1865.
— Daron Hagen, 2006