The Copland Corral

Started by karlhenning, April 10, 2007, 05:12:59 AM

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vandermolen

Quote from: vers la flamme on November 09, 2020, 03:06:33 AM
Been enjoying some Copland lately, mostly the Bernstein recordings on DG and Columbia/Sony. The 3rd symphony is pretty impressive. There's still a good deal of his music I have yet to hear; the Dance Symphony, Organ Symphony, Short Symphony and all that other good stuff.

Just out of curiosity, why did Naxos record so much Copland?! They've recorded Appalachian Spring at least 3 or 4 times.

The Organ Symphony is a particular favourite. You should try the craggy 'Symphonic Ode' as well. I think that the Appalachian Spring is very popular (like Vaughan Williams's 'The Lark Ascending') so that is probably why it is often recorded.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Biffo

Quote from: vers la flamme on November 09, 2020, 03:06:33 AM
Been enjoying some Copland lately, mostly the Bernstein recordings on DG and Columbia/Sony. The 3rd symphony is pretty impressive. There's still a good deal of his music I have yet to hear; the Dance Symphony, Organ Symphony, Short Symphony and all that other good stuff.

Just out of curiosity, why did Naxos record so much Copland?! They've recorded Appalachian Spring at least 3 or 4 times.

No idea but they do have an 'American Classics' series that has much more than Copland.

vers la flamme

Quote from: vandermolen on November 09, 2020, 03:12:07 AM
The Organ Symphony is a particular favourite. You should try the craggy 'Symphonic Ode' as well. I think that the Appalachian Spring is very popular (like Vaughan Williams's 'The Lark Ascending') so that is probably why it is often recorded.

That was just an example; beyond Appalachian Spring, there's about a dozen or more Copland Naxos discs in general, with a bunch of different conductors: Gunzenhauser, Schwarz, Alsop, Judd, Falletta, etc... They really put a lot of effort into their Copland series. I suppose they see him as a central part of their "American Classics" series.

Mirror Image

#423
Quote from: vers la flamme on November 09, 2020, 03:06:33 AM
Been enjoying some Copland lately, mostly the Bernstein recordings on DG and Columbia/Sony. The 3rd symphony is pretty impressive. There's still a good deal of his music I have yet to hear; the Dance Symphony, Organ Symphony, Short Symphony and all that other good stuff.

Just out of curiosity, why did Naxos record so much Copland?! They've recorded Appalachian Spring at least 3 or 4 times.

Quote from: vers la flamme on November 09, 2020, 02:29:51 PM
That was just an example; beyond Appalachian Spring, there's about a dozen or more Copland Naxos discs in general, with a bunch of different conductors: Gunzenhauser, Schwarz, Alsop, Judd, Falletta, etc... They really put a lot of effort into their Copland series. I suppose they see him as a central part of their "American Classics" series.

You answered your own question. ;) For me and I can't speak as to why Naxos has recorded what they have (or even feel the need to try to understand it), but I look at Copland as one of the great American composers. He created a sound-world that was completely his own and, in this regard, he has one of the most characteristic and unmistakable musical voices in all of classical music. Those wide-open vistas of sound, the galloping rhythms and even in his more Modernist works there's a certain approach in the harmony that can only be classified as 'Copland-esque'. When you listen to a work like Prairie Journal and then turn around and listen to Connotations, you're never in question of who the composer is and I think that is one of his many achievements.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Roasted Swan

Quote from: vers la flamme on November 09, 2020, 02:29:51 PM
That was just an example; beyond Appalachian Spring, there's about a dozen or more Copland Naxos discs in general, with a bunch of different conductors: Gunzenhauser, Schwarz, Alsop, Judd, Falletta, etc... They really put a lot of effort into their Copland series. I suppose they see him as a central part of their "American Classics" series.

I suspect that when Naxos got Slatkin to sign a deal with them part of the agreement was to allow him to record several Copland discs given this is something of an omission in his discography to that date

Jo498

I don't much care for the "American Idyll" (or "populist") music but there is a different side (or more or some music that could be classified as in between) to Copland I find more interesting. Tilson Thomas accordingly has one album calls "the modernist" (which I recommend), one "the populist" (which I have not heard).

[asin]B000003G4A[/asin] [asin]B00004SSDL[/asin]
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

vandermolen

Quote from: Jo498 on November 10, 2020, 12:28:32 AM
I don't much care for the "American Idyll" (or "populist") music but there is a different side (or more or some music that could be classified as in between) to Copland I find more interesting. Tilson Thomas accordingly has one album calls "the modernist" (which I recommend), one "the populist" (which I have not heard).

[asin]B000003G4A[/asin] [asin]B00004SSDL[/asin]
That MTT Copland 'Modernist' disc is one of my favourites, uniquely I think, it includes both the Symphonic Ode and the Symphony for Organ and Orchestra.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

vers la flamme

I ordered the Modernist disc. Thanks, Jo. "American Idyll" is a good way to put it. Copland's music from the 1940s is not unlike an American equivalent to the "English Idyllics" like Finzi, Delius etc.

Quote from: Mirror Image on November 09, 2020, 03:22:04 PM
He created a sound-world that was completely his own and, in this regard, he has one of the most characteristic and unmistakable musical voices in all of classical music.

When you listen to a work like Prairie Journal and then turn around and listen to Connotations, you're never in question of who the composer is and I think that is one of his many achievements.

Well said. I think this development of a very unique individual voice is a trait he shares with Stravinsky, and few others.

Mirror Image

"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Mirror Image

In my mind, Copland is the equivalent of Sibelius in Finland as he's done that much for American music. He's a national treasure, but, unfortunately, he's unknown to a large percentage of Americans nowadays and it does feel his reputation is a bit in decline. I truly hope this man's music continues to thrive and flourish.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Jo498

Wouldn't Ives be a closer analogue to Sibelius as "pioneering beginner of serious classical music in cultural backwater x"? The big difference is of course that Sibelius became a national musical hero rather quickly whereas Ives remained mostly obscure. But Copland does seem very late for a "pioneer" even regardless of Ives.
Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos, dans une chambre.
- Blaise Pascal

vandermolen

I remember that when I first came across an LP by Vaughan Williams I asked my classical-music loving elder brother what his music was like and he replied 'a bit like a British Copland'. That intrigued me as I already liked Copland's music. Their music, of course, sounds different but I know what he meant.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Mirror Image

Quote from: Jo498 on January 12, 2021, 01:39:16 AM
Wouldn't Ives be a closer analogue to Sibelius as "pioneering beginner of serious classical music in cultural backwater x"? The big difference is of course that Sibelius became a national musical hero rather quickly whereas Ives remained mostly obscure. But Copland does seem very late for a "pioneer" even regardless of Ives.

I think it's important to remember that before Copland, the US didn't have a national musical voice or someone they could turn to when there was a national crisis to move everyone with their music. Copland's Populist period is what gave him the national and international recognition. Ives never achieved this nor did any other American composer at this time. I have a special relationship with Copland's music as I remember watching a commercial on TV when I was around 5 or 6 yrs. old for US beef that featured the Hoe-Down movement from Rodeo and this has stuck in my mind throughout my entire life. I suppose you could say this was first exposure to any kind of classical music.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Mirror Image

Quote from: vandermolen on January 12, 2021, 01:53:35 AM
I remember that when I first came across an LP by Vaughan Williams I asked my classical-music loving elder brother what his music was like and he replied 'a bit like a British Copland'. That intrigued me as I already liked Copland's music. Their music, of course, sounds different but I know what he meant.

That is interesting, Jeffrey. I think the Populist period of Copland does have nods to Vaughan Williams' pastoralism. I'm thinking here of works like Quiet City, Down a Country Road, Letter From Home, Our Town, etc. Of course, as you pointed out, the differences between the two composers couldn't be more apparent outside of the afore mentioned works.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


VonStupp

#434
I was recently introduced to Aaron Copland's a cappella Four Motets from 1921, composed during his Boulanger studies. He mentions an influence of Mussorgsky in crafting these, although I am not sure I can sense that aspect.

QuoteNadia Boulanger required her pupils to learn to compose traditional forms, among them the motet. Written under her instruction, Copland's motets make use of biblical texts for an a capella chorus of mixed voices. He wrote, "I think of these as student pieces that show some influence of Moussorgsky, whom I admired. I agreed to their publication with mixed emotions. While they have a certain curiosity value — perhaps people want to know what I was doing as a student — the style is not yet really mine." Vivian Perlis
I was really taken by them though, and am surprised (and regretful) I haven't crossed paths with them before. I hope to be able to perform them at some point in the future.

VS

https://www.youtube.com/v/MzkKqpf5PFk&ab_channel=VariousArtists-Topic



"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

Stu

#435
As someone who loves, values, and obsesses over every single piece Copland ever wrote, it pains me that there is literally just one (one!) canonical work that Copland wrote that has still never yet been recorded: his incidental music for a televised play in 1957 titled The World of Nick Adams, based on a Hemingway story.  Copland rather famously wrote two scores for film adaptations of John Steinbeck novels (Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony), but it's rather less known that he also wrote music for a story by that other American literary giant, Hemingway!

In 2001, the actor Paul Newman staged a charity performance of the play, complete with Copland's score performed live.  It was performed a few more times, but as far as I know none of those performances were filmed, nor has the music ever been recorded.  The unpublished manuscript score is of course held in the Copland Collection at the Library of Congress, although since it was performed live in this century a conductor's score and parts are obviously floating around somewhere out there.

Someday I hope to be able to hear this, the only Copland piece I have never heard.


k a rl h e nn i ng

Quote from: Stu on August 17, 2022, 05:12:53 AM
As someone who loves, values, and obsesses over every single piece Copland ever wrote, it pains me that there is literally just one (one!) canonical work that Copland wrote that has still never yet been recorded, his incidental music for a televised play in 1957 titled The World of Nick Adams, based on a Hemingway story.  Copland rather famously wrote two scores for film adaptations of John Steinbeck novels (Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony), but it's rather less known that he also wrote music for a story by that other American literary giant, Hemingway!

In 2001, the actor Paul Newman staged a charity performance of the play, complete with Copland's score performed live.  It was performed a few more times, but as far as I know none of those performances were filmed, nor has the music ever been recorded.  The unpublished manuscript score is of course held in the Copland Collection at the Library of Congress, although since it was performed live in this century a conductor's score and parts are obviously floating around somewhere out there.

Someday I hope to be able to hear this, the only Copland piece I have never heard.



Most interesting! I had no inkling.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Stu

Here's an interesting article on Paul Newman's revival of the play:

https://library.wustl.edu/hotch-at-100-the-world-of-nick-adams/

pjme

Thanks! Really interesting news.


Brewski

For the public radio station here, WRTI (and to coincide with Election Day), I wrote an article on Copland's Lincoln Portrait, touching on a bit of history, context, and of course, versions worth hearing. (There are a lot of them!)

https://www.wrti.org/wrti-spotlight/2022-11-07/album-of-the-week-aaron-coplands-lincoln-portrait

-Bruce
"I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts."

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY