Americana: Aaron Copland

So I’m spending the next year listening to a lot of American music and maybe finally getting to grips with Carter, the world’s oldest living composer.

But, I’m starting at the simpler end with Copland.

I’ve always thought Copland an excellent composer. I paid a fair bit back in December 1980 to hear him conduct the LSO. It was a superb evening apart from the noise sounding throughout the hall (a plumbing problem as was later discovered) during Quiet City. He conducted it again after, and Jack Brymer played the great Clarinet Concerto.

He certainly knew how to orchestrate to great effect. Even something as simple as Fanfare for the Common Man tells you that.

Bernstein was a bit like his mentor. The serious stuff, as in Preamble, Symphonic Ode, the Orchestral Variations and the three symphonies by Copland are well reflected in the works of his disciple.

There’s a load of American music I still have to explore. More Roy Harris, William Schuman and (if he ever wrote more apart from Street Music and Concerto for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra), William Russo and I’m not finished with Ives yet.

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