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Copland - Appalachian Spring [Import]

Aaron Copland Audio CD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 13.90
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
  • Composer: AAron Copland
  • Audio CD (23 May 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000009I79
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,224 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Appalachian Spring (Suite) - Palma/Singer/Morelli/Han
2. Short Symphony (No. 2): I. Tempo 1/4 = 144 (incisivo) - Palma/Singer/Morelli/Han
3. Short Symphony (No. 2): II. Tempo 1/2 = circa 44 - Palma/Singer/Morelli/Han
4. Short Symphony (No. 2): III. Tempo 1/4 = 144 (preciso e ritimicco) - Palma/Singer/Morelli/Han
5. Quiet City: Slow 1/2 (1/2 = 60) - Slow 1/4 (1/4 = 80) - R. Mase/S. Taylor
6. Three Latin American Sketches: 1. Estribillo (Bold, sharply accented) - Orpheus C.O.
7. Three Latin American Sketches: 2. Paisaje Mexicano (Soft and sad, in a moderate tempo) - Orpheus C.O.
8. Three Latin American Sketches: 3. Danza de Jalisco (Lively and fast) - Orpheus C.O.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's Aaron Copland 2 Oct 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this CD primarily to hear the chamber version of "Appalachian Spring" (Suite) as a change from the orchestral version. Appalachian Spring has been recorded innumerable times; though Copland's score is robust enough to survive some pretty dull performances, this disc from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra gives us the uncluttered simplicity of the original ballet music, which was scored for just 13 instruments (but see below) in order to literally fit the first band playing this piece into the Library of Congress auditorium!

Later, of course, Copland scored the Suite for full orchestra, and a very successful recording of this comes from Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Copland the Populist, a recording I find far preferable to his mentor Leonard Bernstein's unsubtle Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra effort from 1983 Copland: Appalachian Spring; Barber: Adagio for Strings.

This clearly recorded CD finds the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra augmenting the original 13 instruments with a few more strings, as Copland allowed and the disc also contains the Short Symphony (No.2), "Quiet City" and "Three Latin American Sketches". The 13 instrument scoring can be heard on a long-deleted Koch International disc from the Atlantic Sinfonietta Music for Martha Graham, but the richer sound from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra sounds very fine to my ears.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT one of the Orpheus C. O.'s best! 10 Jan 2013
By david
Format:Audio CD
I have and remain a fan of this ensemble's other discs, the Prokofiev Classical Symphony I consider one of the best ever, but this Appalachian Spring well and truely stinks. It is slow (the tempi are all over the place and seems unrelated to the choreographed ballet) and uninspired with thin, unclear recorded sound. How did DGG get the engineering so wrong?
If you really want the original chamber version then go to Wolff and the St Paul C. O. On a 2cd budget reissue you'll get a sharper, livelier performance and a whole bundle of other music by Copland to enjoy written for the theatre.

Or..forget that and enjoy the full orchestral version in any of the superb recordings laid down by Copland himself. The one on RCA Red Seal is the one I like. Of note is the superbly engineered and performed Susskind with the LSO on Everest reissued by Vanguard. This is the audiophile choice, especially in the SACD version, but the performance is so far ahead of the Orpheus in terms of musical values it's like comparing gold with base metal.

If you can get the Everest Vanguard Susskind/LSO at reasonable price or can do the 50 odd for the SACD you will be more than happy!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The _original_ Appalachian Spring 31 Mar 2005
By Kyralessa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Before it was a full-blown orchestral production, Appalachian Spring was written for a small ballet orchestra, 13-piece or so. This recording preserves that original arrangement (with a few additional strings), resulting in a very clean, sharp sound. It's the first version of the piece I ever heard, and I find it preferable to the later orchestral version. This recording is hard to find these days, but worth it just for this great version of Appalachian Spring.

The "Short Symphony" I don't care for much; it's a bit too twelve-tonish, seeming to sound dissonant just for the sake of sounding dissonant. "Quiet City" and the Latin American sketches, though, are a good complement to the main piece.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good program, performances are mixed 27 Jan 2006
By musique non-stop - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Although it does use the original instrumentation (flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano, and strings), this is not the original Appalachian Spring -- it is the chamber version of the -suite-. The suite cuts about 10 minutes of good material from the original, resulting in a 'lite' edition that is not necessarily an improvement. If the 'simple gifts' section, particularly its 'climax', strikes you as a bit overblown, you will prefer the full work, which puts this section in a different context. (There are chamber and orchestral versions of both the suite and the full ballet. Most recorded performances are the orchestral suite. If you are interested in the full chamber version I recommend the Copland-conducted performance on Sony: Copland conducts Copland or A Copland Celebration Vol. 1, for the full orchestral version Tilson-Thomas on RCA: Copland: Appalachian Spring; Billy the Kid; Rodeo or Aaron Copland: The Essence of America.)

The selection of pieces here gives a pretty good cross section of Copland's work, with the Latin American sketches representing his lighter side and parts of the Short Symphony hinting at the sound of his more 'difficult' works, with the other two falling somewhere between. The Symphony famously has some tricky rhythms in parts, but is not an off-puttingly complex piece by any means. It would be inaccurate to describe it as 'twelve-tonish' -- for what it's worth, the melodies and harmonies (including the dissonances) are largely diatonic. It is similar to neoclassical Stravinsky, but less emotionally oblique. Copland considered it to be one of his best works. The score used here is an arrangement for chamber orchestra by Dennis Russell Davies, which doesn't sound very different from the original. There is also the Sextet, Copland's own chamber arrangement of the piece. (If you are interested in the original orchestral version I recommend Tilson-Thomas on RCA Copland the Modernist or Aaron Copland: The Essence of America.)

As for the performances, the OCO is a very 'professional' sounding group, which implies negatives as well as positives. As far as technical execution, they are very capable -- where I find them sometimes lacking is in the expressivity department, due to glib phrasing and (usually rushed) glossing over of the more complicated rhythms. I think they are generally more successful in lighter fare, such as the Latin American sketches (the best performance here), where the musicians don't have to internalize the music so much. I don't know if this has something to do with the fact that the group has no full-time director, but I suspect it might. This shortage of involvement doesn't completely cripple Copland's music, which is already warmly communicative, but the group's Stravinsky, for example, is quite dry and, critically, lacking in rhythmic precision.

Overall, if you are interested in hearing these pieces in a chamber setting or are a fan of this ensemble, this is worth getting, but it's not an essential Copland recording (otherwise it would probably still be in print).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, fresh Appalachian Spring 12 Feb 2008
By Michael P. Mossey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This version of Appalachian Spring is fresh. The small ensemble means the textures are transparent, revealing Copland's wonderfully complex and rich inner voicing. I particularly love the contribution of the piano. The musicians shape the phrases in clear, and to my ears unique (compared to other versions), ways. The fast parts have energy, the slow parts have a richness from constant variety of articulation. The tender music which opens and closes this suite is played as a ritual of prayer, evoking a relationship of love like child to mother (an aspect of much of Copland's music in my perspective). I love this version.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My ears were opened!! 10 Sep 2012
By Bob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Everyone with a love or appreciation of classical music is familiar with Copland's music. You can't go for a month without hearing "Appalachian Spring", "El Salon Mexico", "Billy the Kid", or "Quiet City" on classical FM. I've heard many versions of the the first piece on this CD, but this performance was a revelation. Both the quality of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and that of the DG engineers really opened up this familiar piece and made it fresh and new for me. With the smaller chamber orchestra, all the parts truly sing in their own voices.

I've never been a real fan of 20th Century "classical" music, including Copland's. But this recording of the 2nd Symphony took me by surprise. I recently tried to listen to an overview of his work and, frankly, much of it left me cold. The liner notes say that this is the least performed and "...most frequently cancelled..." of all his work. Frankly, I can't understand why. The contrast between "conventional" music and the jarring, angular passages works amazingly well. What I found really interesting is that there are hints of the themes from many of his other works in this one piece.

The other two pieces on this disc: "Quiet City" and "Three Latin American Sketches" are terrific examples of Copland's work and the many influences that he incorporated in his compositions. Finally, the DG engineers did a great job with this. The imaging and sonic quality are incredible, even to my hearing-aid supplemented ears. If you like Aaron Copland's work, this is a great compilation that makes him very accessible.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and engaging performances, but beyond the excellent Short Symphony I remain reluctant 2 April 2011
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Insofar as I don't count myself as the biggest fan of Copland's Appalachian Spring I may not be the best person to review this disc. That is not to say that the playing of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is anything less that stunningly virtuosic. The rhythms are incisive, the colors are sharp, the atmospheres finely painted but ... there is something not quite right about squaring Copland's open space canvasses with the essential intimacy of a chamber ensemble. And since Appalachian Spring appears to me (who don't quite manage to see what all the fuss is about anyway) to rely so heavily on the colors and atmospheres I cannot honestly say I particularly warmed to the Orpheus players' attempt - I am aware that the chamber version was Copland's own first take on it, but there was presumably a reason he eventually went for a larger ensemble. I think the poetic Quiet City suffers from some of the same drawbacks, but at least the Orpheus ensemble manages to avoid the kind of syrupy sentimentalism that so easily can come to ruin this piece. The Latin American Sketches are incisively done, full of bravury and rhythmic vivacity - but this is music so empty that it doesn't really matter all that much, to be honest. That leaves the Short Symphony, and this is surely the main reason to acquire this disc. It is an underrated work, among Copland's strongest, and I cannot really imagine any complaints about the spirited, sharply characterized performance it receives here (the sound is also very good). In the end, this is a disc worth acquiring and probably a must for Copland fans - for the rest of us the Short Symphony is the main reason, but it is probably reason enough.
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