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THE MUSIC

Reagan’s Children: An Opera-Oratorio, a music theatre peice in the tradition of Orff, Stravinsky, and Britten's parables, sets to music the eulogies presented at Ronald Reaganís June 10, 2004 interment ceremony by his three living children, along with sections of the requiem text, patriotic standards, and Tennyson's poem "Crossing the Bar".

Reagan’s Children: An Opera-Oratorio is scored for an ensemble of four soloists, one treble, 16-voice male choir, three pianos, and string quartet.

Stating that “words are as important as music, and emotional honesty is more important that either,” composer Eric Reda works to lyrically and faithfully sets vocal lines in order to create a musical drama in which characters come into distinct focus. His engaging musical style, while solidly in the world of contemporary musical techniques, is informed by classic opera and oratorio, folk music, protestant hymns, American popular song, electronica, and musical-theatre.

Samples of the score can be heard below in various formats.


The following tracks were recorded during the concert premere of REAGAN'S CHIDREN at Martyrs' Pub on Presidents Day 2008, Monday February 18 .
[files will open in a new window or right click to download.]

Please click here for more information about this event.

I. REQUIEM - Feb 18 - MP3 [5M] Maureen, Christine and the chorus open the piece.

II. GOLDEN FIELDS- Feb 18 - MP3 [2.25M] Ron sings of his father's ideal afterlife.

III. LACRYMOSA - Feb 18 - MP3 [4.5M] The soloists set the mood.

IV. FINALE - Feb 18 - MP3 [1M] Michael Reagan closes the opera.


The following tracks were recorded during the 2007 Around the Coyote Fall Festival September 10 Cabaret Reduction.
[files will open in a new window or right click to download.]

Sections 3 & 5, along with the preface from the score was performed as part of the 2007 Around the Coyote Fall Festival in Chicago in reduced orchestration by four soloists, piano and cello.
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I. PRELUDE - Sept 10 - MP3 [1M] The soloists open the piece in an a cappella quartet.

II. MEDITATION - Sept 10 - MP3 [3.5M] Michael Reagan's central aria with chorus.

III. TOCATTA - Sept 10 - MP3 [2M] Ronald Prescott Reagan's central aria.

IV. GOLDFISH ARIA - Sept 10 - MP3 [4.5M] Patti Davis's central aria with chorus.

IV. PIE JESU - Sept 10 - MP3 [1.75M] Maureen Reagan's Pie Jesu, occurring just after the the other children describe their father's death.

V. ARIOSO and SANCTUS - Sept 10 - MP3 [2.5M] Ronald Prescott Reagan expounds on his father's feelings on mixing Politics with Religion. Followed by the chorus with pianos and strings singing the traditional latin text of the Sanctus: "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, dominus Deus sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et in terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis."

VI. GOLDEN FIELDS and THE RIVER - Sept 10 - MP3 [4.75M] Ronald Prescott Reagan and Patti Davis's visions of the afterlife.

VII. FINALE - Sept 10 - MP3 [3M] Michael Reagan sums it all us for us.

[FULL PERFORMACE AS A SINGLE TRACK - 27M]


The following samples were recorded at the June 12 benefit preview. [files will open in a new window or right click to download.]

A 45-minute cutting from the score was performed in June 2006 in collaboration with Around the Coyote in Chicago in reduced orchestration by four soloists, piano four-hands, and cello.
Please click here for more information about this event.

I. PRELUDE - June 12 - MP3 [1.35M] The soloists open the piece in an a cappella quartet.

II. AMENS from PATTI DAVIS'S ARIA - June 12 - MP3 [850KB] This amen chorus ends Patti Davis's central aria.

III. MEDITATION - June 12 - MP3 [5M] Michael Reagan's central aria with chorus.

IV. PIE JESU - June 12 - MP3 [1.6M] The second section of Maureen Reagan's Pie Jesu, occurring just after the the other children describe their father's death.

V. SANCTUS - June 12 - MP3 [1.5M] The Chorus with pianos and strings sings the traditional latin text of the Sanctus: "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, dominus Deus sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et in terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis."


Additional samples of the music can be heard below as computerized MIDI files. (musical instrument digital interface)
[files will open in a new window or right click to download.]

I. TOCATTA - midi preview - MP3 [800K] In this clip, Ronald Prescott Reagan sings "My dad was known for being this famously optimistic man. But such optimism can lead one to see the world as one wishes, rather than how it really is."

II. ARIA - midi preview - MP3 [1M] Patti Davis and Chorus sing: "He will never get sleepy, and will never be sad. He will never go hungry, and will never get scared. He is swimming in the clear blue waters of Heaven as far and as wide as he wants, and he never has to stop because the river goes on for ever and ever."

III - MEDITATION - midi preview - MP3 [1.3M] Michael Reagan (represented by a cello) sings: "Years later, when I met Colleen, the woman I knew I was to marry, my Father wrote a letter to me about marriage and family, as well as this mandate." The chorus adds: "Always stay faithful to the woman you love. Always stay faithful to the woman you love."

IV - SANCTUS - midi preview - MP3 [1.5M] The Chorus with pianos and strings sings the traditional latin text of the Sanctus: "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, dominus Deus sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et in terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis."
 

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The NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY production of REAGAN'S CHLIDREN: An Opera-Oratorio is partially supported by a grant from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts Committee at Northwestern University.

REAGAN'S CHLIDREN: An Opera-Oratorio is partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

REAGAN'S CHILDREN: An Opera-Oratorio • reagan@4ringcircus.net