The Corner

P.S. on ‘America the Beautiful’

Below, Mark Krikorian reminded us of the lyrics of “America the Beautiful” (in their fullness). This led me to think of a spine-tingling moment in concert life. In 1991, Leontyne Price gave what I believe was her final recital in Carnegie Hall. She was about 64. The recital went late into the night, with about ten encores. Price knew, probably, that it was her final recital in that hall.

At the very end, she came out for one last encore: “America the Beautiful,” unaccompanied. She really knew what to do with such words as “Thine alabaster cities gleam / Undimmed by human tears!” (You can hear the Mississippi in her voice, a bit.) I wish I could give you a YouTube link — couldn’t find. But the entire recital (or most of it) is available on CD, here.

If she were not a patriotic lady, people would understand. Born in the 1920s in the Deep South. But she is very, very patriotic indeed, in addition to a hundred other things. (By the way, her brother George Price is an Army man — a retired brigadier general.)