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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Benji on November 05, 2010, 04:12:08 PM

Title: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 05, 2010, 04:12:08 PM
I wanted to do something interesting to mark my 1000th post, so after a good ponder i've decided to embark on a survey of one composer who is very close to my heart: Copland. I have found what seems to be a pretty complete list of works and I think I own, or have access to, a recording of almost all of it. So over the next few weeks i'll be listening to it all in order, some of it for the first time, much of it for the umpteenth and posting some thoughts and facts and history. I hope this is a worthwhile thing to offer to my good friends here and I hope we'll all learn something and perhaps i'll even encourage others to take a stroll away from Copland's well-beaten track.

So, first things first: the list! I don't think suites and transcriptions and such are included in it, except for the most popular ones but if anyone sees any omissions let me know.


1918NIGHT (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg463912.html#msg463912)vocal
A SUMMER VACATION (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg463912.html#msg463912)vocal
MY HEART IS IN THE EAST (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg463912.html#msg463912)vocal
1920OLD POEM (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg464394.html#msg464394)vocal
THE CAT AND THE MOUSE (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg464394.html#msg464394)piano
1921PASTORALE (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg464637.html#msg464637)vocal
THREE MOODSpiano
FOUR MOTETSchoral
PETIT PORTRAITpiano
1921-24MOVEMENT FOR STRING QUARTETchamber
1922ALONE (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17494.msg463912.html#msg463912)vocal
PASSACAGLIA FOR PIANOpiano
1922-25GROHG (revised 1932)ballet
1923CORTEGE MACABREorchestra
AS IT FELL UPON A DAY for soprano,
  flute, and clarinet
vocal
1923-28TWO PIECES FOR STRING QUARETTchamber
1924SYMPHONY FOR ORGAN AND ORCHESTRAorchestra
1925DANCE SYMPHONYorchestra
MUSIC FOR THE THEATREorchestra
TWO CHORUSES ("The House on
  the Hill," "An Immortality")
chorus
1926PIANO
  CONCERTO
orchestra
TWO PIECES FOR VIOLIN AND PIANOchamber
SENTIMENTAL MELODYpiano
1926/48FOUR
  PIANO BLUES
piano
1927POET’S SONGvocal
1927-30SYMPHONIC ODE (revised 1955)orchestra
1928VOCALISEvocal
FIRST SYMPHONY (arrangement of
  Organ Symphony)
orchestra
1929VITEBSK for piano, violin, and
  cello
chamber
1930PIANO
  VARIATIONS
piano
1931MIRACLE
  AT VERDUN
incidental
1933SHORT
  SYMPHONY
orchestra
1934HEAR
  YE! HEAR YE!
ballet
STATEMENTS FOR ORCHESTRAorchestra
INTO THE STREETS MAY FIRSTchorus
1935WHAT
  DO WE PLANT?
chorus
SUNDAY AFTERNOON MUSICpiano
THE YOUNG PIONEERSpiano
1935-36EL SALON
  MEXICO
orchestra
1936-37THE SECOND
  HURRICANE
opera
PRAIRIE JOURNAL (originally called
  MUSIC FOR RADIO)
orchestra
1937SEXTET
  (arrangement of Short Symphony) for string quartet, clarinet, and piano
chamber
1938BILLY THE
  KID
ballet
AN OUTDOOR OVERTUREorchestra
LARKchorus
1939THE CITYfilm
OF MICE AND MENfilm
1939-41PIANO
  SONATA
piano
1940OUR TOWNfilm
QUIET CITYorchestra
1940JOHN
  HENRY (rev. 1952)
orchestra
1941EPISODEorgan
1942DANZON CUBANO for 2-pianospiano
LAS AGACHADASchorus
FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MANorchestra
LINCOLN PORTRAITorchestra
MUSIC FOR MOVIESorchestra
RODEOballet
1943SONG
  OF THE GUERILLAS
orchestra
NORTH STARfilm
SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANOchamber
1944APPALACHIAN
  SPRING
ballet
LETTER FROM HOME (revised 1962)orchestra
1944-46SYMPHONY
  NO. 3
orchestra
1944/82MIDDAY
  THOUGHTS
piano
1945JUBILEE
  VARIATIONS
orchestra
THE CUMMINGTON STORYfilm
1947IN THE
  BEGINNING
chorus
1947/77MIDSUMMER
  NOCTURNE
piano
1947-48CLARINET
  CONCERTO
orchestra
1948THE RED
  PONY
film
THE HEIRESSfilm
1949PREAMBLE FOR A SOLEMN OCCASIONorchestra
1949-50TWELVE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSONvocal
1950OLD
  AMERICAN SONGS, SET I
vocal
QUARTET FOR PIANO AND STRINGSchamber
1952OLD AMERICAN SONGS, SET IIvocal
1952-54THE TENDER LAND (revised 1955)opera
1954DIRGE IN
  WOODS
vocal
1955CANTICLE OF FREEDOM (revised
  1967)
orchestra
1955-57PIANO
  FANTASY
piano
1957THE WORLD
  OF NICK ADAMS
television
ORCHESTRAL VARIATIONS
  (transcription of Piano Variations)
orchestra
1958-70EIGHT POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON
  (orchestral version)
vocal
1959DANCE PANELS (revised 1962)ballet
1959-72THREE LATIN AMERICAN SKETCHESorchestra
1960NONET FOR STRINGSchamber
1961SOMETHING
  WILD
film
1962DOWN
  A COUNTRY LANE
piano
CONNOTATIONSorchestra
1963DANZA DE JALISCO (in Latin
  American Sketches) for 2-pianos
piano
1964EMBLEMS FOR WIND ENSEMBLEchamber
MUSIC FOR A GREAT CITYorchestra
1966IN
  EVENING AIR
piano
1967INSCAPEorchestra
1969INAUGURAL (CEREMONIAL) FANFAREorchestra
HAPPY ANNIVERSARYorchestra
1971DUO FOR FLUTE AND PIANOchamber
THRENODY I: IN MEMORIAM IGOR
  STRAVINSKY for flute, violin, viola, and cello
chamber
1972NIGHT THOUGHTS: HOMAGE TO IVESpiano
3 LATIN AMERICAN SKETCHESorchestra
1973THRENODY II: IN MEMORIAM BEATRICE
  CUNNINGHAM for flute, violin, viola, and cello chamber
chamber
1973-82PROCLAMATIONpiano

Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Bulldog on November 05, 2010, 04:17:34 PM
You are embarking on a very time consuming project.  I applaud your dedication and motivation. 8)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: DavidW on November 05, 2010, 04:19:34 PM
I love the piano trio btw, good luck! :)  And mail me a rip of your project when you're done. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 05, 2010, 04:20:51 PM
You are embarking on a very time consuming project.  I applaud your dedication and motivation. 8)

It will be a labour of love!  :)

I love the piano trio btw, good luck! :)  And mail me a rip of your project when you're done. ;) ;D

That'll be a new one to me so i'm looking forward to that!

Now if I can only get the whole damned list to post... Done! That's as good as it's getting...  8)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 05, 2010, 06:32:54 PM
First things first!

Four Early Songs:
I. Night (1918)
II. A Summer Vacation (1918)
III. My heart is in the East (1918)
IV. Alone (1922)

Recorded on this Barbara Bonney album

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518EGVsBbpL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

The first three of these songs (to texts by Aaron Schaffer) were written when Copland was just 18, only three years into his musical education and prior to departing for Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. However, none of the four songs were published until 1989.

The first, Night is rather impressionistic; it shows a strong influence of Debussy. in fact all four songs are very much European in their sound. There is no detecting what Copland would soon become, but that is not to say that they sound immature. I'm no expert on piano, or vocal music, but if there are any weaknesses in the composition they're well disguised. To my ears Copland seems entirely confident even at this early stage. Prodigious indeed.

The final of the four songs, Alone, written a whole four years later certainly seems more mature to me. Based on an Arabic text by J. Duncan, it certainly has the feeling of a nocturnal Arabesque.

I wish I could comment more on Copland's vocal writing. Vocal/piano music is a genre i've barely dipped my toes into so if there is anyone with experience who knows the songs and can provide some insight i'd love to hear.

So nothing especially profound here, but certainly delightful and enjoyable. I loved listening to Barbara Bonney I must say.  :)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: DavidW on November 05, 2010, 06:58:30 PM
That is a stupid name for that album! :D
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: karlhenning on November 05, 2010, 08:07:52 PM
"Zeke, angle the camera to maximize the cleavage, there's a  good fellow."
 
Thread duty:
 
Fine list, and an outstanding thread, Ben!
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 06, 2010, 12:02:51 AM
Great idea! Will be following along....
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Maciek on November 06, 2010, 01:03:52 AM
I remember someone saying something quite funny about that cover...

(I like Copland's music very much - will be following this thread with great interest.)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: The new erato on November 06, 2010, 01:39:42 AM
Very fine idea for a thread about a composer I appreciate a lot and want to know more about. I hope you stay the course; the board has dried up for good threads recently.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Guido on November 06, 2010, 04:54:58 AM
That is a stupid name for that album! :D

No it isn't. She is called Barbara it is true, but it's actually the name of one of the Bernstein songs she sings on it.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: karlhenning on November 06, 2010, 05:06:07 AM
Doesn't necessarily mean that the name isn't stupid. Just saying.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: DavidW on November 06, 2010, 05:38:06 AM
No it isn't. She is called Barbara it is true, but it's actually the name of one of the Bernstein songs she sings on it.

Oh :-[  Well I feel stupid now.  Thanks for the correction. :)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 06, 2010, 05:45:54 AM
Thanks for all the positive encouraging comments, folks. I've found a lot of useful resources via the power of the web so i'm very excited to share what i'm finding with you all. All in good time!  :D

The hardest part is actually not listening to the later music. I usually listen to the piano concerto probably once a week and quiet city fairly often as well, two pieces I never tire of. It'll be fun to find out more about them when their time comes.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Bogey on November 06, 2010, 06:05:50 AM
Cool thread!
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 06, 2010, 06:09:09 AM
Cool thread!

I knew you'd enjoy it  ;D
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 06, 2010, 06:40:44 AM
I enjoy Copland a good bit. He's not one of those composers I could live without, but he wrote some good compositions nontheless. I'll be interested to see what you own out of his works and will be following the thread to see if you've got a lot of the early works, which aren't performed as much as the mid to later period works.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Guido on November 06, 2010, 06:42:02 AM
Maybe it would be good to say why you thought Copland was such a great composer first. I have to say that he's probably my least favourite of what I think of as the five biggest names in American composing: Barber, Ives, Copland, Gershwin and Carter.

In my my mind, the first two and last two fall nicely into pairs  - Barber the consummate professional and master of traditional technique opposite Ives the "amateur" with his striving transcendental experimentalism, and Gershwin the popular, melodic and sentimental against Carter the dissonant, spiky, phantasmagorical "musicians" composer. Copland is somewhere in the middle of these pairings, but actually not as good as any of them I think. I love some of his best work (Appalachian Spring, Piano Sonata, Dickinson Songs) but too much of the oeuvre seems to be significantly below par considering that he is now almost universally seen as one of the Great Composers of the 20th century.

Cage and Feldman are very dear to me also but are far too strange/individual to seem in any way reflective of some kind of national aesthetic.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 06, 2010, 06:51:28 AM
Maybe it would be good to say why you thought Copland was such a great composer first. I have to say that he's probably my least favourite of what I think of as the five biggest names in American composing: Barber, Ives, Copland, Gershwin and Carter.

In my my mind, the first two and last two fall nicely into pairs  - Barber the consummate professional and master of traditional technique opposite Ives the "amateur" with his striving transcendental experimentalism, and Gershwin the popular, melodic and sentimental against Carter the dissonant, spiky, phantasmagorical "musicians" composer. Copland is somewhere in the middle of these pairings, but actually not as good as any of them I think. I love some of his best work (Appalachian Spring, Piano Sonata, Dickinson Songs) but too much of the oeuvre seems to be significantly below par considering that he is now almost universally seen as one of the Great Composers of the 20th century.

Cage and Feldman are very dear to me also but are far too strange/individual to seem in any way reflective of some kind of national aesthetic.

I think there are many fine American composers. Two of my favorites are Piston and Diamond. I also have found pleasure in the minimalism of Reich and Adams. For me, there were significant American composers who helped contribute to the United States becoming a country that produces original and individual classical music.
 
A matter of opinion, but I don't think Barber, Ives, Copland, Gershwin and Carter tell the whole story. Schuman, Cowell, Harris, Creston, Bernstein, Thomson, etc. were all inventive American composers as well.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Guido on November 06, 2010, 06:58:22 AM
Absolutely, I think so too, but to me they are all secondary in quality and importance to the 5 (plus 2) that I mentioned. I would not be without Piston's second, Schuman's violin concerto, Bernstein's clarinet sonata, Ruth Crawford Seeger's String Quartet or Ruggles' Suntreader to name but five pieces off the top of my head. The "whole story" of American music would need to mention every American composer. But there are of course as in every art form of every period, more and less important artists.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: DavidW on November 06, 2010, 07:02:34 AM
Music can't be numerically ranked.  It is art, not a horse race.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 06, 2010, 07:08:22 AM
too much of the oeuvre seems to be significantly below par considering that he is now almost universally seen as one of the Great Composers of the 20th century.

I don't think Copland is anywhere near universally seen as a Great Composer. He gets trashed a lot on forums like this (and elsewhere), and besides a few "pop hits," his music doesn't seem to get played a lot.

Quote
Cage and Feldman are very dear to me also but are far too strange/individual to seem in any way reflective of some kind of national aesthetic.

I would argue that individuality and eccentricity virtually define "the American style" in classical music.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 06, 2010, 07:25:42 AM
Maybe it would be good to say why you thought Copland was such a great composer first. I have to say that he's probably my least favourite of what I think of as the five biggest names in American composing: Barber, Ives, Copland, Gershwin and Carter.

In my my mind, the first two and last two fall nicely into pairs  - Barber the consummate professional and master of traditional technique opposite Ives the "amateur" with his striving transcendental experimentalism, and Gershwin the popular, melodic and sentimental against Carter the dissonant, spiky, phantasmagorical "musicians" composer. Copland is somewhere in the middle of these pairings, but actually not as good as any of them I think. I love some of his best work (Appalachian Spring, Piano Sonata, Dickinson Songs) but too much of the oeuvre seems to be significantly below par considering that he is now almost universally seen as one of the Great Composers of the 20th century.

Cage and Feldman are very dear to me also but are far too strange/individual to seem in any way reflective of some kind of national aesthetic.

It's difficult to put into words how I feel about Copland. There is something in his music that resonates with me at a very deep level - it evokes nostalgia in me for places and times that I have no experience of and does so very powerfully and convincingly that I can only conclude that Copland was a kindred spirit. It's the same feeling I get from Vaughan Williams, though with RVW I can at least explain some of it away given that we are both English and I have some of the same connection with the national mindset and landscape etc. Of course this is the wishy-washy aspect, which as I say is difficult to express in a way that would be meaningful or understandable to someone who doesn't feel the same way. I'm sure everyone has a composer or two that 'speak' to their soul, and Copland is one of mine.

Subjective assessment aside, I absolutely feel Copland is worthy of, as you say, a Great Composer tag. Everything you've said about Barber, Ives, Gershwin and Carter could equally apply to Copland. Listening to the early songs last night and thinking about how mature (mature as in confident, not as in sounding like the mature Copland) and assured they sound and comparing this with the early orchestral works, such as Grohg , in which we can hear Copland absorbing the music of Europe at the time (Bartók, Stravinsky, Schoenberg) but molding it into a unique, masterful composition, as colourful and spectacular as anything those three composers wrote. 

And then the Piano Concerto, which only a few years down the line from the songs already show a vast talent and imagination at work and, within it the seed of the familiar Copland known to many.

I feel that perhaps overexposure to the big ticket works such as Billy the Kid and Appalachian Spring has dulled peoples appreciation for actually how important and wonderful they really are. My exploration of Copland's music both earlier and later than the familiar Americana works has really enriched my appreciation of Copland and how wide-ranging and often exceptional his oeuvre really is. It seems to me that Copland was a jack of almost all musical trades and a master of many.

I really hope this thread will lead to the same revelation for others by providing a bigger picture, the full context and, with any luck, encouraging you to listen along and enjoy. 
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 06, 2010, 07:28:00 AM
I don't think Copland is anywhere near universally seen as a Great Composer. He gets trashed a lot on forums like this (and elsewhere), and besides a few "pop hits," his music doesn't seem to get played a lot.

That's their loss!  :D

Quote
I would argue that individuality and eccentricity virtually define "the American style" in classical music.

I wholeheartedly agree.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Guido on November 06, 2010, 08:02:55 AM
I look forward to following this thread. As I've said before, Ives and Barber are two of my "soulmate" composers so I know what you are feeling, and part of the reason of which is their yearning nostalgia - sort of what you talk about in Copland, but in Copland it sounds more like a loneliness and the sad alienation of city life from nature (Wilfred Mellers hits the nail on the head here), which is a different sort of nostalgia than the one expressed by either Ives or Barber of course (different people, different concerns).

Quote
I would argue that individuality and eccentricity virtually define "the American style" in classical music.

Maybe, though the two I mentioned never sounded very traditionally American to me, subjective I know and it's a matter for another topic. We would surely say that Schuman, Creston, Diamond, Piston and Shapero all had a very American sound but I'm not sure that we could particularly say they were any more eccentric or individual than contemporanous European composers.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 06, 2010, 08:26:53 AM

Maybe, though the two I mentioned never sounded very traditionally American to me, subjective I know and it's a matter for another topic. We would surely say that Schuman, Creston, Diamond, Piston and Shapero all had a very American sound but I'm not sure that we could particularly say they were any more eccentric or individual than contemporanous European composers.

Sure...I was being a bit provocative. I do think there is something peculiarly American about the eccentricity of composers like Ives, Nancarrow, Partch, Ruggles, Cage, and the various minimalists and electronic pioneers. This is not a reflection on quality however - I like more "traditional" composers (Schuman, Piston etc.) just as much.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on November 06, 2010, 08:49:57 AM
8
...the two I mentioned never sounded very traditionally American to me

Ives doesn't sound American to you?  How odd that statement is to me, someone who thinks Ives is the quintessential American composer. You're English, yes? Do you recognize as American the numerous quotes Ives uses? Of course there is more to his American sound than quotes of popular American music but it is a major part of it and a part perhaps you can't identify? When I hear "Bringing in the Sheaves" woven into the texture of his music I'm immediately transported here:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/oct2010/Church-in-Fall-Splendor-New-England.jpg)

"Columbia the Gem of the Ocean" or "Turkey in the Straw" likewise conjure up visions of the American landscape and soul. It's music that simply couldn't be imagined by a non-American composer. But if you don't hear those tunes as part of America (at least a bygone America) then I suppose I can partially understand your statement.

Sarge
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: karlhenning on November 06, 2010, 09:39:24 AM
I think that Copland (with only partial injustice) slots into many people's view as "the musical Norman Rockwell." He has more range than that, even if perhaps he did not always make an effort to inhabit all of his range.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Guido on November 06, 2010, 09:48:40 AM
8
Ives doesn't sound American to you?  How odd that statement is to me, someone who thinks Ives is the quintessential American composer.

God no! Talking about Cage and Feldman. Ives is one of my absolute favourite composers - how curious it would be to misunderstand his music to that degree!  :) Ives' music could not have been composed by a non American. Nor could it have been composed by any other american! Which is why it is such a completely unique phenomenon. I would argue that Barber also sounds quite American even although during his lifetime he was repeatedly referred to as sounding very European. Again, I don't find this to be the case.

This thread is being thoroughly derailed! Onto the next Copland works!
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Bogey on November 06, 2010, 10:13:32 AM
I think that Copland (with only partial injustice) slots into many people's view as "the musical Norman Rockwell." He has more range than that, even if perhaps he did not always make an effort to inhabit all of his range.

I'm feeling you, Karl. I am FEELING YOU!!
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 07, 2010, 04:41:43 PM
The Cat and the Mouse, for piano (1920)

http://www.youtube.com/v/zcsMhuREKbw

If found this thing called "Youtube" and you can watch videos and stuff. It's neat! Now you can listen along!  8)

So it's a fun little composition, nothing deep. Very literal in it's musical description. Obviously no denying the influence of Debussy, but it is interesting that I can hear what I would call American-sounding harmonies in there (1:34 onward?).

Old Poem, for soprano and piano (1920)

Listening to Naxos online release: Enrico Maria Polimanti (piano), Lydia Easley (Soprano).

Copland said of this: "one of the first of my pieces to show the beginnings of a musical personality, at least in terms of rhythmic feeling, frequent meter changes, and sense of form."

A musical personality yes, though not a recognisable one. The notes to the Naxos release say the work has a Ravelian influence, which on repeated hearing I can almost identify. I think it's much more noticeable in the vocal writing; the more I listen to the piece the more I'm reminded of the opening vocal lines of Ravel's Shéhérazade, a work with which the Old Poem shares the oriental theme and a nocturnal stillness.

Tomorrow: 1921!  :)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 07, 2010, 04:46:15 PM
p.s. I'm also putting a hyperlink to the post relating to each work on the big index list on my first post.  :)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: karlhenning on November 07, 2010, 04:48:33 PM
You are one organized dude, Ben.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 08, 2010, 01:58:03 AM
The Cat and the Mouse, for piano (1920)


So it's a fun little composition, nothing deep. Very literal in it's musical description. Obviously no denying the influence of Debussy, but it is interesting that I can hear what I would call American-sounding harmonies in there (1:34 onward?).
Right from the beginning  (and repeated a few times throughout) I am hearing 'I Got Rhythm'. Other than that, very French sounding indeed!
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 08, 2010, 05:00:46 PM
Pastorale, for high voice and piano (1921)

http://www.youtube.com/v/Df9tcvCUvro

Video is a little dodgy at the start, but it clears up after a while - keep with it. It's a simple song, short and sweet.

The first performance of this work was 10 January 1922. I have found two letters Copland wrote to his parents, one from January 6 and another from January 14. In the letter from the 6th he writes:

"While I was away the proof of the outside cover of my piece came. I have sent it back and now it really can't be long before the composition is out. I laugh to think so I can't really complain of being neglected, can I?"

Little did he know!  ;D

In the letter of the 14th he writes:

"The songs were received much more enthusiastically than at the S.M.I. concert. For that affair I went out to buy a stiff-collared white shirt in one of the big department stores. Guess how much I paid - 18 Francs (about $1.50!) also I have been having such awful struggles to make my bow tie each time I wore the tuxedo that I finally decided to buy a ready-made tie for which I had to pay 4 francs or about 30 cents. One can hardly pay things are expensive here!"

I included the above just because I love how he is more interested in telling the story of how much the tie cost than his recent concert! It's very humanising to see such remarks.  :D

Early in the same letter he is relaying a story about a meeting with another composer, whose name I can't make out in Copland's handwriting. Copland goes on to say

"..."told me you got more for your piece than he has ever gotten for one of his!" On second consideration, I have decided that this story is rather sad, since it shows how much serious music is worth in dollars and cents in America. But at the same time one must remember that most composers in America get royalties while most composers in Europe sell their music outright. But the long and short of it is that there is no money to be made in composition either way! Therefore one makes a living in some other way (teaching, accompanying, conducting and so forth)."

I wonder how much things are really different, if at all, nowadays. Still, things turned out pretty well for Copland in the end, he need not have worried!

If you would like to read the correspondence you can do so here at the Library of Congress (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/copland/acworksP.html#work0071).
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 09, 2010, 06:20:49 AM
Wow! Thanks for all the wonderful color and the link! Really appreciate all the effort you are putting into this. I think a thread like this is pretty wonderful, and with all the additional information you are adding it is very educational. You help bring his music to life!
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Benji on November 09, 2010, 06:33:35 AM
Wow! Thanks for all the wonderful color and the link! Really appreciate all the effort you are putting into this. I think a thread like this is pretty wonderful, and with all the additional information you are adding it is very educational. You help bring his music to life!

That's very kind of you to say, thank you so much. :)

I am enjoying it immensely. I can highly recommend the benefits of a thorough chronolgical examination of your favourite composer!  8)

At the moment I can see that Grohg is just a little further down the list and i'm quite excited to hear the few remaining works that predate it. After hearing these [relatively] simple short songs and piano pieces so far I am expecting a quantum leap in Copland's talent by the time he polished off Grohg. All I can imagine is that Boulanger's teaching must have provided one hell of a steep learning curve! Can't wait to see how the story unfolds... 

Tune in later for more! ;)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Maciek on April 11, 2011, 12:25:28 PM
And...?

 ???
Title: Recommendations, please
Post by: Palmetto on April 11, 2011, 01:44:07 PM
Would some of you recommend recordings of the following for a beginner?  If it makes any difference, I'll likely be ordering from Amazon as downloaded .MP3s.

Appalachian Spring
Billy the Kid
El Salon Mexico
Fanfare
Rodeo

I'm trying to decide whether to order selections individually or pull down a complete album (usually cheaper than buying individual tracks).  If enough recommendations are for the same album or recording, I'll go with that.

Thanks!

Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2011, 06:41:12 AM
Would some of you recommend recordings of the following for a beginner?  If it makes any difference, I'll likely be ordering from Amazon as downloaded .MP3s.

Appalachian Spring
Billy the Kid
El Salon Mexico
Fanfare
Rodeo

I'm trying to decide whether to order selections individually or pull down a complete album (usually cheaper than buying individual tracks).  If enough recommendations are for the same album or recording, I'll go with that.

Thanks!

If they've got the Slatkin/St Louis recording of Rodeo, that includes a "barrel-house piano" interlude in Rodeo that you hardly hear otherwise.

Michael Tilson Thomas & SFSO for Appalachian Spring (complete) & Billy the Kid

Doráti & Detroit for the Fanfare & El salón México
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 12, 2011, 06:47:53 AM
If they've got the Slatkin/St Louis recording of Rodeo, that includes a "barrel-house piano" interlude in Rodeo that you hardly hear otherwise.

Michael Tilson Thomas & SFSO for Appalachian Spring (complete) & Billy the Kid

Doráti & Detroit for the Fanfare & El salón México

These are all good recommendations. Peronally, I think Bernstein is tops in Rodeo, El Salon, and Billy the Kid. He brings the character and flavor of the piece through with more pizzazz for me. I've never been able to shake his interpretations on these three pieces. Appalachin Spring with Tilson Thomas is excellent too. There is also a piece called Danzon Cubano (also short) you might consider- another version I like conducted by Bernstein.
Title: Thanks.
Post by: Palmetto on April 12, 2011, 02:48:33 PM
If anyone cares, I opted for the Bernstein.  It has the advantage of offering movements as separate .MP3 files, instead of each work as an undivided file as the Thomas/SF and Mata/Dallas do.  The Kunzel was only available as a CD, not downloadable.  I realize these aren't very artistic criteria but at this stage of my exploration, easily repeating movements has been very useful.

I'll cherry-pick El Salon as an individual non-album download later.  Thanks for the help.
Title: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 12, 2011, 02:55:21 PM
If anyone cares, I opted for the Bernstein.  It has the advantage of offering movements as separate .MP3 files, instead of each work as an undivided file as the Thomas/SF and Mata/Dallas do.  The Kunzel was only available as a CD, not downloadable.  I realize these aren't very artistic criteria but at this stage of my exploration, easily repeating movements has been very useful.

I'll cherry-pick El Salon as an individual non-album download later.  Thanks for the help.

Please stop changing the title of the thread each time you respond to somebody. This is more annoying than one of James' pfff comments.
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: DavidW on April 13, 2011, 05:55:38 AM
Palmetto I think you chose well, that Bernstein recording is sweet! :)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: Maciek on April 13, 2011, 12:33:29 PM
 $:)

Please stop changing the title of the thread each time you respond to somebody. This is more annoying than one of James' pfff comments.

Palmetto, bear in mind that the above is Mirror Image's personal opinion/reaction, and not a reflection of the forum rules. While it isn't the standard method of posting on this forum, you are certainly allowed to change the subject line of your posts. (How others may react to that is another matter, but this thread is not the place to discuss such issues anyway.)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: chasmaniac on June 08, 2011, 03:28:32 AM
Where did all the Copland go? I've just ordered some and wouldn't mind reading about it.

Bring it back, bring it back
Please bring it back home to me
Because you don't know...
What it means to me
(Freddie Mercury) :)
Title: Re: Aaron Copland: A Complete Survey (or as damned near complete as you could hope!)
Post by: chasmaniac on June 08, 2011, 03:32:54 AM
Oops, found it here: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,185.0.html (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,185.0.html).