Mystery score

Mystery score

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More on Copland

10 comments:

Joe Barron said...

I don't know the Tender Land well enough to judge, but most other Copland is wonderful, I met him backstage once after a concert when I was 14. He graciously signed my program, which I still treasure. Upcoming concert near Philadelphia will include his Sextet and Ives's Trio. Can't wait. Well, I can, but I am looking forward to it.

I do like Shere's measured judgments of Britten and Shosty, though. I've always had reservations about the latter, especially, and attempts to promote him into the greatest composer of the 20th century seem to me wishful thinking.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I would like to hear more of his modernist music, but I cannot abide "Appalachian Spring," "Billy the Kid," etc. I caught one of his symphonies years ago at SFS and thought it bombastic crap, but maybe I would think differently now.

Joe Barron said...

That bombastic crap would be the Third Symphony, and I agree with your assessment. But I'm quite fond of his movie scores, and the Clarinet Concerto is terrific. (It is one of the two great American CCs, the other being Carter's. I like to think of Copland's as the swing concerto, and Carter's as the bop concerto.)

If you're interested in AC's more modernist stuff, check out Statements.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ha! I will have to get the clarinet concertos...

Joe Barron said...

The concerto was written for Benny Goodman.

You know, I met Copland when I was a kid. He signed my concert program, which I still have. He conducted a student orchestra at the Walnut Street Theater that afternoon, and one of the cellists listed in the program was Yo-Yo Ma, who must have been about 16 at the time (December 1971).

tjd said...

We'll have to agree to disagree about Billy the Kid. I saw a production of the ballet that revived the original choreography, and I thought it was tremendous. (Did you see the ballet, or just hear the music?)

I also have a high opinion of Appalachian Spring, Music for the Theater, the Piano Variations, the Piano Sonata, and the Piano Quartet (one of the spikier pieces).

I didn't really understand Daniel Wolf's post, since he seems to be taking Copland, Britten, and Shostakovich to task for not succeeding at something they weren't trying to do. If you don't like the music, fine (I can't get into Shostakovich, myself) but I do think you have to try and approach it on its own terms.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I've never seen any of the ballets for which Copland wrote the music. Since I can't stand the music and am not that big on ballet, why go? :)

Henry Holland said...

I disagree with Daniel Wolf about Britten. I'm biased, of course, by the fact that his A Midsummer's Nights Dream was the reason I became an opera queen and that the Decca Peter Grimes was the first opera recording I bought.

From ca. 1938-1954, Britten was on a hot streak: Grimes, Lucretia, Albert Herring, my favorite Billy Budd, Gloriana (unjustly neglected in my view) and the amazing Turn of the Screw. Les Illuminations, The Serendae for tenor, horn & Strings (a masterpiece), Sinfonia da Requieum and the Spring Symphony, not to mention some very fine lieder. That's a nice CV, I'd say, and if he ran out of steam after 1954, oh well.

calimac said...

I do like Copland's ballet music, very much, but on seeing a longish film clip of the original choreography for Appalachian Spring, I did not find myself edified thereby.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm a great fan of Britten's music myself.