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Four Walt Whitman Songs (1942 and 1947)

For voice and orchestra on texts by Walt Whitman.
Orchestral accompaniment for 1 and 2 by Kurt Weill, for 4 by Weill and Irving Schlein, for 3 by Carlos Surinach (1956).

Song List
Audio Files
Performance Information

Song list

1. Beat! Beat! Drums!
2. Oh Captain! My Captain!
3. Come up from the Fields, Father
4. Dirge for Two Veterans

Audio files

On 19 March 1955, Weill's friend and preferred conductor Maurice Abravanel led Arthur Kent and the Utah Symphony in a performance of three of the Walt Whitman Songs. Click on each title below to hear an archival recording from this performance.
Beat! Beat! Drums!
Oh Captain! My Captain!
Dirge for Two Veterans

Performance Information

Orchestra: 2.1.2.bass cl.1;; harp, timp, perc; strings.
Duration: 18 minutes
Published Editions: vocal and piano score of versions for high and low voice, EA853
vocal and piano score of original keys, EA 584
Performance Materials: All territories: EAMC
First performance: (Possibly) March 2, 1952, New York, Joseph James, vocalist, "Y" Symphonic Workshop, Maurice Levine, cond. (first three songs only)
Note: "Beat! Beat! Drums!" was recorded by Helen Hayes on RCA Victor in 1942, as a recitation with orchestral accompaniment revised by Weill (recording available on Pearl GEMM CDS 9294).

Guide to orchestration, territory abbreviations, and publishers' symbols.


Koch Schwann CD 314 050 Wolfgang Holzmair, baritone, Robert-Schumann-Kammerorchester, Marc-Andreas Schlingensiepen, cond.
VAI CD VAIA 1181 Theodor Uppman, baritone, Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra, Donald Vorhees, cond. (includes "Beat! Beat! Drums!")


Also see Walt Whitman Songs, in the original arrangement for voice and piano.