A Tribute to Aaron Copland -
Dean of American Composers
Born: Brooklyn, New York,
November 14, 1900
Died: North Tarrytown, New York,
December 2, 1990
Known as "The Dean of American Composers," Aaron Copland was
one of the best known composers of the 20th century.
Among his most popular works from the 1930s to 1950s are:
"El Salon Mexico" (1936)
"Billy the Kid" (ballet, 1938)
"Our Town" (film score, 1940)
"Lincoln Portrait" (with narrator, 1942)
"Rodeo" (ballet, 1942)
"Appalachian Spring" (ballet, 1944)
"The Red Pony" (film score, 1949)
"Old American Songs (2 sets, 1950-1952).
What were his views about his own music?
What did he think of other composers and their music?
Now available is a conversation between Copland and composer Roger Lee Hall.
The conversation took place in 1980 at Copland's "Rock Hill" home in Cortlandt Manor, New York.
During the wide-ranging one hour conversation, Copland discussed some of his best known compositions: such as "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Appalachian Spring." Also his arrangements of "Old American Songs," several of his film scores, his admiration for Nadia Boulanger, Serge Koussevitzky (who made the first recording of the "Appalachian Spring Suite"), his close friend, Leonard Bernstein, and composer Charles Ives. Copland also made fun of his bad memory and was delightfully witty in his remarks.
This conversation is now available on a CD:
American Music Recordings Collection (AMRC 0005)
One of his best known compositions, "Appalachian Spring"
is discussed in BBC Magazine
But the information about "Simple Gifts" is not accurate.
This Shaker tune was composed as a dance song NOT a hymn.
Read more about this Shaker song -- click here
"Appalachian Spring" ballet (1944)
with "Simple Gifts" Variations
Music by Aaron Copland
Martha Graham's Dance Company
filmed in 1958
A Few Recommended CDs and DVD
The Music of America: Aaron Copland
A 3 CD set of his best known music,
including Fanfare for the Common Man,
Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo,
Lincoln Portrait, Music for Movies and more
COPLAND CONDUCTS COPLAND CD,
with Copland conducting
the complete original ballet version
Appalachian Spring in 1973,
also Henry Fonda as narrator for Lincoln Portrait
A Biddulph CD with Serge Koussevitzky conducting
the Boston Symphony Orchestra
in the rare first recording of the Suite from Appalachian Spring in 1945,
and also other works
The Copland Collection, 1936-1948
(includes OUR TOWN and MUSIC FOR MOVIES)
Aaron Copland -
Music in the '20s (3 DVD set)
Complete 12 part series as shown on Public Television
Copland and Film music
There was an interview by Roger Hall with Aaron Copland first published in
Soundtrack magazine, Vol. 19/ No. 75.
The interview was conducted at the composer's home in 1980 and has been reprinted in this book:
A GUIDE TO FILM MUSIC -
SONGS AND SCORES (6th edition, PineTree Press)
In addition to the Copland interview, other composers quoted in this book are: Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, David Raksin, Dimitri Tiomkin, and an interview with Virgil Thomson.
This reference book also includes tips on listening to film music, 100 essential film scores of the 20th century, film music awards, an extensive bibliography and recommended recordings. Also as bonus featurs there are several radio and cable television programs.
Available separately on CD is - "Aaron Copland On Film Music" (AMRC 0019)
Read the interview by Roger Hall with Aaron Copland -- click here
Copland has been named for a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Read more about this CD and Lifetime Achievement at the
22nd Annual Sammy Film Music Awards
CD Review: THE HEIRESS and THE RED PONY
Copland: Music for Films
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Copland and The Shakers
Aaron Copland's arrangement of the Shaker dance song,"Simple Gifts," has become known around the world chiefly through its use in the Martha Graham ballet, Appalachian Spring.
See Aaron Copland Meets The Shakers -- click here
The music reflects, I hope, the unique quality of a human being, an American landscape and a way of feeling.
-- Aaron Copland
When writing about this ballet score, Jan Swafford has written:
The most famous section is the variations on the Shaker song, "Simple Gifts," a tune Copland rescued from obscurity. His genius for evocation, his simplicity hiding great sophistication and his understated emotion are never better seen than here.
--The Vintage Guide to Classical Music (1992), p 471.
Hear the exclusive interview with Copland about his arrangements of "Simple Gifts" on this multimedia computer disc:
Support the Copland House
The restored, longtime residence of Aaron Copland in upstate New York, is the only composer's home in the U.S. devoted to nurturing America's rich musical heritage through a broad range of activities.
An Official Project of the White House "Save America's Treasures" program, Copland House's activities include a thriving composers' residency program, a touring resident chamber ensemble, educational programs based on American music, related public presentations, and various recording, broadcast, and Internet projects.
This is well worth supporting.
Information on Copland House and its national membership organization, Friends of Copland House, may be obtained by visiting
Help support the educational mission of
American Music Preservation.com
Order your music collections, CDs and DVDs at the
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