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AMERICA — The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is typically a rousing religious song. The lyrics were written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861 to encourage fighting for freedom during the Civil War.
On Tuesday, the Piano Guys released a pensive version of the song in a video, called "Abraham Lincoln Tribute." Steven Sharp Nelson, describes writing the song in the video description and said they wanted the song to represent Lincoln's pensive and spiritual nature.
He said the key changes in the song represent the changes happening in the 1860s. This pensive instrumental version, written in minor keys, brings a deeper meaning to the lyrics.
Nelson said he is inspired by the line that reads, "As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free," a line that is even more significant to me now that I know the historical background of the song.
Nelson explained that the National Museum of American Religion asked the Piano Guys to compose a song for an exhibit about Lincoln, and that they chose to arrange this one because it was a favorite of Lincoln's.
When Abraham Lincoln first heard the song performed by an orchestra and choir, he stood, wept and asked to hear it again, according to the video's description.
The setting for the video is also beautiful, as is the case for many of the Piano Guys' videos. It was artfully filmed in the fall at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. Even Nelson's cello looks like it belongs in the historical setting.
I hope you enjoy listening to the song as much as I did.