Franklin D. Roosevelt - NARA - 196715
About My FDR Project
by Mark Zuckerman
The Idea
My FDR project is a collection of choral settings from speeches and writings of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. There a stand-alone a cappella pieces for advanced singers. I'm currently at work on a cantata for community chorus.
A Cappella Settings
The Four Freedoms (7'20" ACA) The Four Freedoms is a work for a cappella men’s chorus on a text adapted from the section (reproduced below) of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address that articulates Four Freedoms which he believed were universal human rights and the core of America’s commitment to the world. Uttered less than a year before the United States’ entry into
World War II, already being fought at the time of the speech in Europe and Asia, The Four Freedoms proposed a vision for a postwar world worthy of the war’s desperate struggle and terrible sacrifice. They remain worthwhile goals today.

This is what FDR said:

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.

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FDR's Four Freedoms (10'30" ACA)  is a settings for SATB a cappella of the same text as above.
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We Shall Strive for Perfection (5'30" ACA)  is a work for a cappella mixed chorus on a text adapted from excerpts of speeches by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1945, his last year in office.

From his Fourth Inaugural Address (January 20, 1945):

We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately – but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes – but they must never be mistakes which shall result from from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principles.

From his undelivered Jefferson Day Address (April 13, 1945), the text FDR was working on when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage:

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.
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Cantata (in progress)
So far, there are two pieces, scored for mixed chorus (SATB) and piano:
This is the Time to Speak the Truth (3'30" )  is a work for mixed chorus and piano on a text of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from his first inaugural address, March 4, 1933:

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly.
There Are Many Ways of Moving Forward (2')  is a work for mixed chorus and piano on a text of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (date and place inknown):

There are many ways of moving forward, but only one way of standing still.
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