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Copland: Appalachian Spring, etc.

Copland: Appalachian Spring, etc.

13 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan 1986
  • Label: Reference Recordings
  • Copyright: 1986 Reference Recordings
  • Total Length: 58:17
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001HMR1IY

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
Copland In The O.C. 15 Jan 2013
By Erik North - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
One of the myths about Southern California that existed for decades was that it didn't have much "culture", beyond Hollywood. But the truth is a little bit different, especially in terms of classical music institutions. It starts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but it doesn't end there. This recording of the music of Aaron Copland by Orange County's Pacific Symphony Orchestra is proof of that.

Founded in 1978, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra has proven not only to be one of the great cultural institutions here in Southern California, but also one of the greatest regional orchestras to be found anywhere in the United States, period. And on this Reference recording, led by their first music director Keith Clark, they essay three works by the greatest of all American composers, Aaron Copland: the jaunty "An Outdoor Overture"; the original 13-instrument version of the suite of the 1943 ballet "Appalachian Spring"; and the song cycle "Eight Poems Of Emily Dickinson."

Composed by Copland in 1938 for the Orchestra of the High School of Music and Art in his native New York City, "An Outdoor Overture" has all the jauntiness one could possibly want and expect from the composer, even though it is a little less well known than several of his other works. And the Emily Dickinson poems cycle featured here, and which was first heard in 1950, is a marvelous essay by Copland into the song cycle form that was such a huge part of the European classic music landscape, especially among composers like Franz Schubert and Gustav Mahler. Here, famed soprano Marni Nixon, who voiced Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY and Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY and was married to film composer Ernest Gold (of EXODUS fame), does a wonderful performance of the eight-song cycle.

Of course, the big work here, the suite that Copland extracted from "Appalachian Spring", is really laid out in its original chamber form; the hall in which the ballet was premiered was too small to house a full orchestra, so, for that performance, the composer scored it for four violins, two violas, two cellos, bass, piano, bassoon, clarinet, and piano. And even though it is on a smaller, more intimate scale than the full orchestral version most are used to hearing, it is still one of those works with which the world identifies America.

Clark and the Pacific Symphony, along with Ms. Nixon, give these great works some very solid performances here; and although this recording isn't as well known as others of these works, it is still one that should be sought out, particularly for the intimacy of the chamber version of "Appalachian Spring." I highly recommend this CD.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great production! 23 Dec 2012
By Oneton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Appalachian Spring Suite is absolutely magnificent; truly major sound from a relatively small ensemble! The Emily Dickinson poems were so-so, a bit of a disappointment. I hate to be a music critic, but I felt like the singer let the rest of the group down.
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