Monday, July 19, 2004

The other Copland

Many people express their admiration for Aaron Copland's music, even if they don't know that he wrote it (i.e. "the Beef music.") They'll talk about how Appalachian Spring or Billy the Kid epitomizes the wide open spaces of America, or just that it has catchy tunes and pleasant harmonies. But most audiences are not aware of the other Copland: the experimental, atonal, serial, and dense Copland as mostly found in his smaller pieces. His song collection on poems by Emily Dickinson is quite different from his American folk song collection. And his piano sonata and variations for piano are both lively and abstract. To those that think they know Aaron Copland, I challenge you to listen to the other Copland.

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