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Copland in Big Band sound, idiomatically played,
This review is from: Copland 100 (Audio CD)
I have already devoured and eulogised Eiji Oue's other recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra in spectacular 24 bit sound and this one is another hit. Oue has conducted at Bayreuth but why he has not yet been appointed to head a major world orchestra mystifies me, as he is clearly a major talent, full of energy and with an acute ear for orchestral detail.
This compilation offers 72 minutes of the best of Copland's music and it's like a tour of the Grand Canyon with its sense of Wide Open Spaces, the insistent, ostinato rhythms and the boundless, yee-haw optimism of its leaping melodic intervals. Yet Oue also captures sensitively the moments of melancholy, mystery and reflection. It's a great game for the listener to recognise and tick off the seminal American folk tunes incorporated into "Appalachian Spring" and the orchestra play this music with huge dedication and affection, as if they, too, love it and what it represents to patriotic Americans.
The more unusual item here is the Third Symphony, more obviously "modern" than the popular preceding works and sometimes reminiscent of Strauss when its massive sonorities are played so lusciously. The sheer drive of this performance makes the best possible case for music which sometimes veers into near-caricature of Copland's predominant style but is also often - strangely, given Copland's very American sound - redolent of Vaughan Williams and Elgar as well as Strauss. Perhaps this is hardly surprising given their mutual admiration of the latter two composers and the fact that works by Elgar such as his "Alassio - in the South" can frequently sound like a Strauss tone poem. This recording of Copland's Third has claims to being the best account of this symphony out there; it is certainly in the best sound.