For the Fourth, Rosa Ponselle and the national anthem

July 04, 2013|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

To get the Fourth of July off to a stirring start, I thought you would enjoy this blast from the past, which I only just discovered -- the venerable Rosa Ponselle singing our national anthem. (My thanks to the soprano's longtime friend Elayne Reynolds Duke for alerting me to the performance.)

This rare clip, from the 1952 Republican convention in Chicago, finds Ponselle in typically sumptuous voice, not to mention articulating with terrific clarity (people just don't sing like that anymore). The recording quality is spotty and the pianist isn't always in sync, but this is still an awfully stirring account of 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'

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