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Schuman was inspired by the hymns of early American composer William Billings for this work. Written for the New York Philharmonic in 1954, it opens with Be Glad Then, America, moving from a somber opening to a vigorous treatment of the same theme. The second movement, When Jesus Wept, is a contemplative treatment of Jesus’ visit to the tomb of his friend Lazarus. The athletic finale, Chester , is based on a rallying cry from the American Revolution. Its words convey a burning desire for freedom which sustained the colonists through the difficult years of the Revolution. Except for his organ piece America, this work is his most often recorded and performed, particularly for July 4 concerts and other patriotic events. -- James Huff 06:40, May 20, 2010 (UTC) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)

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