Sunday, April 26, 2015

Re-creating and Creating History

Last night, the people of Hudson learned that the adjective weird had a meaning in the 19th century that was somewhat different from the one it has today. When Edward Townsend called the scene that transpired in Hudson when Lincoln's funeral train stopped here, "one of the most weird ever witnessed," he didn't mean it was odd or bizarre. It is more likely that he meant it was otherworldly and mysterious, for that was the effect when, 150 years later, Hudsonians re-created the moment.

Photo: Billy Shannon
Billy Shannon has a review of the event on his new blog, Hudson River Zeitgeist, and Lance Wheeler has posted a video on imby, but you had to have been there. 

The torches, the chorus of female voices, the solemn procession accompanied by a beat of a single drum created a mood that was haunting and otherworldly, which was enhanced by the presence of two female figures dressed in full period mourning.

Photo: Dini Lamot
Gary Schiro's presentation of a tribute to Lincoln, which appeared in the Columbia Republican on April 18, 1865, was powerful and moving. Mary Hack's a capella performance of the recitative "Comfort Ye," which was the final moment of the event, was achingly lovely. (This recitative from Handel's Messiah was also performed at a memorial concert by the Philharmonic Society of New-York on April 29, 1865.)

Photo: Bob Burns
Photo: Dini Lamot
The centerpiece of the re-creation was the tableau, designed and created by Jamison Teale. Modeled on the description in Townsend's journal, the tableau was the perfect focal point for an event that many members of the audience attested was a portal drawing them back for a moment to 1865 and a country wounded by civil war and suddenly devastated by great loss and united in mourning.

Photo: Bob Burns

Photo: The Gossips of Rivertown

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