Monday, December 20, 2010
217 Records celebrates 150 years of Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride"
Many people can still recite from memory these words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s great poem Paul Revere’s Ride: “Listen my children and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.”
Listen to Michael Maglaras recite this masterpiece of American poetry; this still-resonating call to citizen action.
On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere made his famous ride across the farming communities just outside Boston. His one command, “one if by land and two if by sea,” was met with two signal lights in the tower of the Old North Church. Paul Revere’s Ride celebrates the call to arms he sounded that began the American Revolution.
“Paul Revere’s Ride was more than a call to action, it was and remains a call to citizenship. I can’t think of a better time for us to remember the important events of April 1775 that changed the face of the world,” said Terri Templeton, executive producer of 217 Records.
On December 20, 1860, 150 years ago today, the Atlantic Monthly published Paul Revere’s Ride in its January 1861 edition. “Since then,” commented Templeton, “this wonderful poem has occasionally become trivialized in its old-fashioned reminder of the importance of each individual’s responsibility as a corporate member of our democracy.”
In honor of the Longfellow Bicentennial, in 2007 Maglaras also brought the story of Hiawatha - more than 6,500 lines - to life for a modern audience when 217 Records released a limited edition 5-CD recording of this epic poem, complete with a soundtrack of Native American drums, flutes, vocals, and a host of sound effects. Read the Associated Press story about this recording at this link.
“The Song of Hiawatha is a great story populated with fantastic characters - monsters, demons, witches, and animals that speak. Hiawatha himself was America’s first superhero,” said Templeton. “It is great literature, wonderful theater, and an absolute celebration of our American heritage.”
MORE ABOUT MICHAEL MAGLARAS: Michael Maglaras is an independent businessman, filmmaker, classically-trained musician, and founder of 217 Records in Ashford, Connecticut, a label devoted to celebrating the American artistic experience through recordings of American poetry as well as alternative rock and jazz.
In 2007, Maglaras performed The Song of Hiawatha live in its entirety - all 6 ½ hours of it - in a special marathon public reading in Portland, Maine. Since that time, he has performed excerpts from this epic poem at the Maine Festival of the Book, Maine Historical Society in Portland, Maine and The Longfellow House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
View a video clip of Michael Maglaras reading The Song of Hiawatha at this link.
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