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4.1 out of 5 stars12
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2011
These two CDs comprise almost 134 minutes of some of Copland's most popular works, played by some very fine Orchestras/Ensembles including The Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra under Zubin Mehta; The Detroit Symphony Orcherstra, under Antal Dorati; The London Sinfonietta under Elgar Howarth; The English Chamber Orchestra, with the mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, under Carl Davies; The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, under Neville Marriner and The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. It also features the voice of Gregory Peck.

If, like me, you came late to this highly-original and gifted composer, this is an excellent and fairly comprehensive collection on which to cut your teeth.

You will probably already be familiar with Fanfare for the Common Man, but the percussion in this version is the best I've heard. Appalacian Spring, with its eight sections ranging from just under two up to three-and-a-half minutes each, is a gem. The very slow introduction sucks you in to the simple American "backwoods" life and you are hooked; part seven - based on the Shaker Dance/Hymn (on which Sydney Carter based the tune for his 1963 Hymn "Lord of the Dance") is perhaps the pick. Part of the Lincoln Portrait is narrated by Gregory Peck and shows the Composer's patriotic commitment to the history of his native USA, inspite of his Lithuanian-Jewish heritage. One of the most original pieces in this collection is "The Quiet City", for cor Anglais, trumpet and strings.

The section of five songs from the Old American Song Books is, I believe the pick of the second disk. Copland sticks closely to the original melodies, yet his inventive and understated orchestration lifts these songs especially in "Simple Gifts" and "Long Time Ago" - the latter showcasing the excellent poetry of George Pope Morris.

I don't much care for the Dance Symphony, although I will concede it is highly original and brilliantly recorded, but the Four Dance Episodes in the Suite based on his ballet Rodeo are lively and vibrant with the highly original Saturday Night Waltz being particularly fine.

If you are looking to get to grips with Copland, then look no further, this high quality collection, at a very competitive price, is ideal.
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on 27 August 2012
This is an excellent introduction to this composer.

The 2 CD set includes some of his best and best-known works (Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, El Salon Mexico, Lincoln Portrait) in good performances plus some less obvious material (e.g. the Dance Symphony). Sound quality is between good and spectacular.

For a more experienced collector who has these pieces already, the performances are at the brash/exciting end of the spectrum. Nothing wrong with that, of course although Mehta isn't nearly as touching in the final pages of Appalachian Spring as Koussevitsky or Tilson Thomas. That said, Dorati's El Salon is appropriately brash.
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on 1 November 2013
Strangely, I'm not a lover of 'American' music in general, and I don't like Fanfare for the common man.
But this collection has some absolute gems and all are performed very well indeed.
A great bargain with some nice surprizes.
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On holiday 20 years ago in the Colorado Rockies, I bought Appalachian Spring on CD. One morning I woke very early and drove up into the Rocky Mountain National Park with it on my hire car audio system.
It was a fine, bright morning with a low mist over the beaver lakes, and the mixture of music and landscape made it a special memory.
Coplands music is so evocative for me now, that any time I hear it I'm back in small town America, or up in the high meadows early in the morning.
If you love Coplands works, this is a must have collection. I originally looked for a 'complete works' CD set two years ago, and could only find one cdset but costing upwards of $50 at that time. I put my decision on hold, and having heard a snippet from 'Rodeo'as I drove home from work last week, I came on to Amazon to see if anything had changed.
And it had. When I saw the price, what was included on these cd's, and the musicians involved I didn't hesitate, and Amazon delivered them the next day.
I'm no hi fi supertweeting audio buff, but I am very happy with the sound quality on every track.
Make a quick list of what music is included, then check out how much you would have to pay to get them all in one order from Amazon. The saving is spectacular.
Buy this, save money, enjoy Copland. Every image of America you will ever need is here, all in one box.
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on 19 July 2012
I have just begun to like classical music and found some Copland tracks in my MP3 library. Having a pretty good stereo I ordered that CD. The DECCA sound is of a very high standard as I presumed. Aaron Copland offers a good entrance into "classical music". The Appalachian Spring has of course become one of my favorites.
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on 13 January 2014
Always wanted some of Coplands work again after wearing out old vinyl. This compilation is super. Gegory Peck offers different nuances to that of Henry Fonda for the LIncoln Portrait. [ I like Fonda who gives a more passionate recital, but Peck is excellent ]
If you've no Copland, then this a good start.
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on 23 June 2012
If you are new to the music of Aaron Copland this is an excellent starting double CD. I bought to play in the car as it is a good general collection.
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on 21 May 2015
A good selection as an introduction to The music of Copland
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on 8 October 2015
A fine CD, I enjoyed it very much.
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on 9 October 2013
I don't want to give written reviews. I will star rate the product and that I feel should be enough.
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