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The Aaron Copland (1900 - 1990) appreciation thread


Jurassic Shark
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3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

What do you think of Paul Barnes' take on the sonata?

 

That's the Barber sonata?

 

My personal favorite recording of the Copland sonata is by this composer-pianist named Easley Blackwood.

 

track 5 - 7 on this album

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  • 6 months later...

Doesn’t Copland only have one “later” film score? Something Wild was done a long time after his first five Hollywood scores, anyway. Were there other later film scores for short films outside Hollywood or something?

 

Yavar

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31 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

Doesn’t Copland only have one “later” film score? Something Wild was done a long time after his first five Hollywood scores, anyway. Were there other later film scores for short films outside Hollywood or something?

 

Yavar

 

No I meant later as in "composed after the piece I'm talking about."  Like from the perspective of this piece, which is from Statements, a suite written around 1934/35, his film music started 4-5 years later.  Actually the scores that movement reminds me of most are his first scores, Of Mice and Men and Our Town.  Sorry for the confusion!

 

Here's a good example at 49:08, one of the finest scored scenes of this era of Hollywood in my opinion.  Copland's choices were pitch perfect for the emotions.  Not coincidentally, this cue also reminds me of parts of To Kill a Mockingbird as well.

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

This coming Friday, PBS' Great Performances series is airing a special on Aaron Copland.  That's right, a program that starts with a John Williams theme centered on the life and music of Copland. :wub:

 

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  • 1 month later...

Wilson's?  Oh it's a very nice performance. I'm pleased he recorded the updated version with the restored finale and I've listened to it several times, but it does lack the emotional power of Slatkin's with Detroit.  The percussion in particular sounds a bit strange to me on the BBC recording for some reason.  The low brass and percussion are the secret sauce of that symphony.  I of course bought that whole series Wilson recorded with the BBC Phil. 

 

I have a "default" recording for every Copland piece that has ever been recorded and I have three pieces that I use Wilson as my default for:

 

Connotations (far superior to the overbearing Bernstein recording)

Symphony No. 1 (I believe only the second recording of this orchestra-only arrangement of the Organ Symphony, superior to Alsop's recording for Naxos)

Letter From Home (a short piece commissioned by Paul Whiteman, I find Wilson takes sections at a good tempo compared to Copland's own recording that was too slow)

 

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11 minutes ago, Stu said:

Symphony No. 1 (I believe only the second recording of this orchestra-only arrangement of the Organ Symphony, superior to Alsop's recording for Naxos)

 

How's Alsop's?

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The performance strikes me as staid next to Wilson's.  Like they're playing the parts but not playing them, knowwhutimean?

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A very unique and special movie.

 

The use of Appalachian Spring in this scene is really something.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Copland FACT CHECK

 

https://www.classical-music.com/features/recordings/a-guide-to-coplands-appalachian-spring-and-its-best-recordings/

 

The above BBC Classical article on Appalachian Spring says the following:

Quote

No one has yet given us the complete original ballet from the Martha Graham company’s band parts

 

This is FALSE

 

There have in fact been TWO recordings of the actual complete original ballet for 13 instruments from the Graham company's parts:

 

First, in 1990 is one conducted by Andrew Schenck for the Koch record label:

https://www.discogs.com/release/8938627-Copland-Barber-Andrew-SchenckAtlantic-Sinfonietta-Music-For-Martha-Graham-The-Original-Versions

 

Second, in 1991, conducted by Hugh Wolff for the Teldec label:

https://www.discogs.com/release/6585156-Copland-The-Saint-Paul-Chamber-Orchestra-Hugh-Wolff-Appalachian-Spring-Original-Chamber-Version-Musi

 

Of these two, I vastly prefer the 1990 album by Schenck.

 

What we do not yet have is an official commercial recording of the complete ballet for full orchestra that was prepared by David Newman and the Copland Fund back in 2016.  There have been various versions for orchestra over the years that have claimed the "complete" label, but this 2016 edition is the first that can pass the best definition for complete: it is the first orchestral version for which the original Martha Graham choreography can be performed with no changes or abridgments.

 

I do however have a radio broadcast of a wonderful performance of this version by the Philadelphia Orchestra with Cristian Măcelaru conducting 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

This is the kind of transcendent music Copland could write that makes you feel like there's some deep secret truth being expressed that couldn't possibly be put into words and that is only just escaping your grasp.  Or something.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

The buildup from 9:12 to 9:35 here is just incredible.  This breathtaking moment of triple forte stacking of C# minor chords with D naturals shoved in so you get minor seconds with the root and tritones with the fifth for a dissonance that is truly twisted and horrific in context.  If you already know the symphony, this moment seems to hang over the entire first half of the movement like the Sword of Damocles. The pure, innocent solo piccolo that rises out of the morass is like a beam of sunlight breaking through a storm cloud.

 

When I saw Slatkin conduct this with the National Symphony he, in comments from the podium, linked this moment to the horrors of WWII, but I don't think it needs any added historical context to work narratively.  Just one of a thousand examples of how Copland was a musical dramatist in everything he wrote.

 

I've listened to this symphony well over 100 times and it never fails to give me goosebumps.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The music editor Philip Rothman, who has been working on preparing new corrected editions of Copland's works for more than a decade, has written a nice blog post about testing out the new edition of Rodeo in Milwaukee.  It's fascinating to get an inside look at what's involved in this kind of work!

 

https://www.scoringnotes.com/meta/road-report-coplands-rodeo-in-milwaukee/

 

It also includes a cameo by the late Christopher Rouse, who was President of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music for years.

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