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Piano Concerto CD

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Price: £7.26 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Performer: Benjamin Pasternack
  • Orchestra: Elgin Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Robert Hanson
  • Composer: Aaron Copland
  • Audio CD (28 April 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B001716IVG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,304 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. The Tender Land Suite: I. Introduction and Love MusicRobert Hanson10:12Album Only
  2. The Tender Land Suite: II. Party SceneRobert Hanson 4:50£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. The Tender Land Suite: III. Finale: The Promise of LivingRobert Hanson 5:35£0.79  Buy MP3 
  4. Piano Concerto: I. Andante sostenutoRobert Hanson 7:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
  5. Piano Concerto: II. Molto moderato, Allegro assaiRobert Hanson 9:52Album Only
  6. Old American Songs I (arr. I. Fine for chorus): I. The Boatmen's DanceIrving Fine 3:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. Old American Songs I (arr. I. Fine for chorus): II. The DodgerRobert Hanson 2:21£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Old American Songs I (arr. I. Fine for chorus): III. Long Time AgoRobert Hanson 3:02£0.79  Buy MP3 
  9. Old American Songs I (arr. I. Fine for chorus): IV. Simple GiftsNathaniel Stampley 1:27£0.79  Buy MP3 
10. Old American Songs I (arr. I. Fine for chorus): V. I Bought me a CatNathaniel Stampley 2:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
11. Old American Songs II (arr. for choir): I. The Little Horses (arr. R. Wilding-White)Robert Hanson 2:45£0.79  Buy MP3 
12. Old American Songs II (arr. for choir): II. Zion's Walls (arr. G. Koponen)Robert Hanson 1:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
13. Old American Songs II (arr. for choir): III. The Golden Willow TreeJeffrey Hunt 3:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
14. Old American Songs II (arr. for choir): IV. At The River (arr. R. Wilding-White)Robert Hanson 3:01£0.79  Buy MP3 
15. Old American Songs II (arr. for choir): V. Ching-a-ring Chaw (arr. I. Fine)Nathaniel Stampley 1:37£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

CD Description

Aaron Copland s little-known opera The Tender Land takes place on a farm in the American South during the Depression. The composer later wrote, I was trying to give young American singers material that they do not often get in the opera house... The result was closer to musical comedy than grand opera. The suite that Copland extracted from The Tender Land is in three movements, with the second and third linked without pause. The 1926 Piano Concerto, like Gershwin's Concerto of the previous year, is a 1920s New York piece brassy, exuberant, ever confident in its bluesy swagger. Copland composed two sets of Old American Songs, originally for voice and piano but heard here transcribed for chorus and orchestra.


Benjamin Pasternack... plays with command and force. The close balance emphasises the shallow piano but provides a keen, edgy brilliance, suiting Copland s preference for a sound that is lean, percussive and rather harmonically severe . --Gramophone

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By xxsfgsvs TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 April 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent Copland selection though the baritone is a terrible warbler in the folk songs - perhaps I'm being a bit mean. Despite that, there is so much to like here; hence the five stars. The arrangmenets for chorus int he Folksongs are a revelation and the chorus here is marvellous in these knew arrangements. These arrangements are surprisingly effective and preferable even to the better known solo baritone version. The concerto is a counter point to the more lyrical works on the disc but it is well played and great fun. It is a spiky and jazzy piece but certainly no Rhapsody in Blue and sounds like an evocation of the urban environment where jazz flourished without the Hollyuwood schmaltz: The concerto sounds more raw and modern. I would have liked the finale to have been played with a little more urgency but it is still an excellent performance overall

I recommend the Tender Land Suite here too because the Opera itself left a lot to be desired even though Copland wrote some wonderfully radiant music for it. This is as good as the Tender land is ever going to sound. The orchestra are in excellent form and the recorded sound suits the open textures of the Suite perfectly. Why doesn't this radiant suite get played more often? Overall then, warbling baritones apart, this is a tremendous programme, superbly recorded and performed: essentially listening for any Copland enthusiasts.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful ! 30 May 2008
By Martin R. Lash - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a well recorded, generous disc that includes three fine works by Copland. The Piano Concerto is played with great urgency by Ben Pasternack. Copland's Tender Land Suite is also a winner. The best items on this CD are the beautiful Old American Songs. Here they are recorded with soloists and a chorus. After Copland recorded this music with William Warfield there was not much reason for anybody else to try them on CD. But given the choral settings these little gems are revealed in a new light. Great playing from the Elgin Symphony and their conductor Robert Hanson. I am so glad Naxos records lesser known orchestras like these. The Elgin sounds great. I hope more CD's from them will be forthcoming.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A wonder... 3 Jun. 2008
By Laszlo - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I admit I was prejudicial when I saw the artist line up: Elgin Symphony Orchestra (Elg...what!?) from the Elgin Community(!) College somewhere in Illinois. And all those unkwnown names listed? Well; I admit to love when I have to eat my prejudices. This is a blockbuster! Both performance and sound (who needs Telarc et al with sound like this?) are terrific. I encourage you to hold your skin tight when you hear the Finale of 'The Tender Land Suite' (The Promise of Living): true American nobility.
These people play it as if it was a live concert, with virtuosity and gusto. Everything about this disc is outstanding. Another NAXOS success worth many more dollars than the asking price.
The 'Special Thanks' note in the booklet states that [the underwriters] "feel strongly that this recording will broaden the orchestras' reach, enhance its reputation and capture the music and artistry for many generations to come." Well: BINGO! A keeper.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Interesting program performed with style, but not at the highest level 21 Sept. 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Naxos didn't seize upon the best little amateur orchestra on the plains; the Elgin Symphony is a 58-year-old group in suburban Chicago that went pro in 1985. There's an abundance of musical talent in that area, as this orchestra demonstrates in its full, confident, accomplished sonority. Conductor Robert Hanson knows Copland better than Copland himself, so far as conducting goes, so from the start his version of the suite from "The Tender Land," which few besides the composer have recorded, goes to the top of the list. The opera lacks dramatic interest, but for anyone who love Copland in his cowboys-and-Shakers style, the suite fits the bill (none of the excerpts are of the caliber of his great ballets, however).

The Piano Concerto is equally populist but was composed at a higher level, and we get some dissonance and jazz to add interest. Any Copland piece that Leonard Bernstein recorded isn't likely to get a better performance. Pianist Ben Pasternak does better in the lyrical first movement than in the second, where he isn't bluesy or swinging enough. Nonetheless, he's quite good, and Naxos's big-as-all-outdoors recording adds the right atmosphere.

The "Old American Songs," as another reviewer says, received a once-in-a-lifetime recording from William Warfield (Sony), followed by a scarcely less powerful one from Thomas Hampson in his prime (Teldec). Baritone Nathaniel Staumpley has a lighter voice, and he isn't secure enough to cut loose with total abandon (he tends to wobble at loud volume), but he's enthusiastic and catches the folk idiom without retentious touches of the concert platform. It was smart to record the version Irving Fine made that includes a chorus, since it takes a lot of the burden off Staumpley. There are times, though, when conductor Hnason is too polite and the enterprise becomes a genial community sing-along.

In all, this is a real find at bargain price, even if none of the performances excetp 'The Tender Land' competes with the best.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Come join us in singing the praises of Zion" 21 Dec. 2009
By Jim D. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I know the "Old American Songs" were originally set for solo voice, and I have recordings of Copland accompanying Warfield (the original soloist), and conducting the orchestral version. But I first learned these pieces as a member of a chorus, singing them, so that's my favorite arrangement, though the least common. On this disc, the St James Singers are terrific: the first time I played it, I couldn't believe the speed at which they perform "Ching-a-Ring Chaw." The famous "Simple Gifts" is here, and "By the River"; I really like the ballad "Long Time Ago," too. Just the songs would have been worth the modest cost of this recording, but it also includes an orchestral suite from the opera 'The Tender Land' (with the tune of "Zion's Walls" again) and the rather strange piano concerto (well-played, just not my cuppa).
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Regional American Orchestra Performs Copland 24 Aug. 2010
By Robin Friedman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Aaron Copland (1900 -- 1990) was a composer of diverse musical styles and a distinctively American musical voice. His reputation is secure as one of the most beloved of American composers. Copland is deservedly well-represented in the Naxos "American Classics" series, which has allowed me over the years to get to know more about American art music. This CD, released in 2008, presents three important Copland works, the Piano Concerto of 1926, the orchestral suite from the Tender Land, and Old American Songs. The CD features a uniquely American orchestra -- the Elgin Symphony. Located 40 miles north of Chicago, Elgin, with a population of under 100,000 boasts this outstanding orchestra. Founded in 1950, the Elgin Symphony became a professional orchestra in 1985. Robert Hanson, who conducts the Orchestra on this CD, has been its music director since then. It is a joy to find a local professional orchestra of the caliber of the Elgin Symphony. I think Copland would have loved this ensemble.

Copland's two-movement piano concerto, his only work in the genre is an early work which is rarely performed. Pianist Benjamin Pasternak, who has recorded Copland's solo piano music for Naxos, Copland: Piano Sonata; Piano Fantasy joins the Elgin Symphony and Hanson. Copland's piano concerto may have been influenced by Gershwin's piano concerto composed two years earlier. It is a highly rhythmical, work which makes heavy use of blues and jazz themes especially in the piano set against a background of more traditional music in the orchestral part. The orchestral writing is heavily weighted towards the winds. After a brief orchestral introduction, the piano part in the first movement is slow and distinctively blues-like. The second, longer movement, follows without pause and it has a much jazzier, sharply rhythmic feel. The blusey theme of the opening movement returns before a virtuosic, flamboyant close to this short concerto of under 17 minutes.

Copland later said that he thought that the piano concerto had done all that could be done in a classical composition with jazz and the blues, given what he described as "their limited emotional scope." He found the need to expand his American musical vocabulary beyond the scope of "the blues and the snappy number."

Copland's The Tender Land suite is drawn from his 1954 opera of the same name which is set in the harshness of the American plains in the 1930. I had the rare opportunity to see the opera performed live by a small amateur group some years ago. The Suite that Copland created captures the American idiom more successfully than does the opera. It receives a winning performance from the Elgin Symphony. The opening movement features a lengthy slow love theme derived from the opera's final act. The second movement is a rousing party scene and the finale, with which it is interconnected, offers an optimistic paean to "The Promise of Living."

The best-known work on this CD is Copland's "Old American Songs", composed in two sets of five songs in 1950 and 1952. Copland originally wrote these songs, based upon traditional American texts and musical themes, for piano and voice and then orchestrated them for solo voice and orchestra. Among other recordings, there is a fine version by Thomas Hampson. Aaron Copland: Old American Songs The version performed here is itself an arrangement as Copland's music for solo voice and orchestra has been modified to include a choral part. The St Charles singers are featured on this reading together with baritone Nathaniel Stampley assisted in one song by tenor Jeffery Hunt. The chorus sings exhuberantly, but I would have preferred Copland's original way with the score. The first two songs of the sets "The Boatment's Dance" and "The Doger" receive the liveliest, most convincing performances. But the highlight of these songs is the Shaker song "Simple Gifts", which Copland made famous in his "Appalachian Spring" ballet. The choral setting for this work here is poignantly beautiful.

This CD offers a spirited introduction to some less familiar music of Copland performed by a homespun American orchestra. The liner notes include the complete texts of the "Old American Songs".

Robin Friedman
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