Music: Political Hay

To have a new composition rejected by the patrons who commissioned it may seem like one of the worst things that could happen to a composer. But as Vincent Persichetti has discovered, sometimes it is one of the best things. Persichetti, 57, an established middle-of-the-road composer who teaches at Manhattan's Juilliard School, wrote a piece for narrator and orchestra to be performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra at the official Inaugural concert in Washington two weeks ago.

With very little hesitation the presidential Inaugural Committee removed it from the program, feeling that the text, Lincoln's...

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