REGINALD DE KOVEN'S WAR ANTHEM SUNG BY CHORUS OF 500
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, May 8, 1917, American composer Reginald De Koven's* new "War Anthem" was sung by a chorus of 500 in Franklin Field at the reception to the French envoys.
The words were written by Percy Mackaye** who said he attempted "to hit upon something to suit the need of the hour and for that reason the fight entered into by America...seemed most pertinent."
Several stanzas of the anthem follow...
"To save a planet's liberties
He joineth now our hands
With brothers fighting over seas
Among the ruined lands.
To arms! to arms! allied with those
Who battle to make free
In red, red plains, we plant the
rose, of white democracy.
To arms, to arms, for freedom
And end the reign of czars
Unfurl her flaming stars!"
*Henry Louis Reginald De Koven (1859-1920) was born in Middletown, Connecticut & moved to Europe in 1870. RDK graduated from St. John's College of Oxford University in 1870.
RDK returned to the USA in 1882 & lived in Chicago & NYC. He composed 20 light operas (1887-1913) including 'Robin Hood'. RDK conducted the Washington, D.C. Symphony 1902-1904.
**Percy Mackaye (1875-1956) was born in NYC & graduated from Harvard in 1897. PM studied at the University of Leipzig & joined an artist colony in New Hampshire in 1904. PM is considered to be the first poet of the Atomic Era.
"War Anthem, New Song by Reginald de Koven to be Sung by Chorus of 500 at Reception of French Envoys at Philadelphia," The Chicago Daily Tribune, May 9, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/
Reginald De Koven
Library of Congress Photo (1904)
as Alwyn the Poet (1913)
by Arnold Genthe
Library of Congress Photo