> Copland Orchstral Ormandy [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)

Fanfare for the Common Man (1942)
Rodeo - Three Dance Episodes (1942)
An Outdoor Overture (1938)
The Red Pony: suite for orchestra (1948)
Lincoln Portrait (1942)
Adlai Stevenson (Lincoln)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy (Lincoln; Fanfare)
Cleveland Pops/Louis Lane (Rodeo; Outdoor)
St Louis SO/Andre Previn (Pony)
rec Philadelphia, 13 Nov 1963 (Fanfare); 15 Nov 1962 (Lincoln); Cleveland, 21-22 Aug 1958 (Rodeo); 14 July 1961 (Outdoor); St Louis, 25 Mar 1963 (Pony)
[64.23] Superbudget


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A bargain price collection of Coplandiana of CBS/Sony tapes which have not otherwise found their way into other themed series and sets on this label. This handful of recordings functions well as a conspectus for the timorous explorer as well as for the collector who wants to fill gaps. Both will bless the bargain price.

After a rather languid Fanfare comes an idiomatic Rodeo with Louis Lane and the Cleveland Pops slurring and jazzing it to their (and our) heart's content. A good version with some theatrical trumpet contributions reminding me of the cross-echoes between Copland and Malcolm Arnold. Three years down the turnpike the same trumpeter treats us to some grass-roots liquid playing in An Outdoor Overture. This overture is great entertainment - think of it as a sort of counterpart of Moeran's Overture to a Masque or Bax's Overture to Adventure - a sort of American ENSA wartime overture. The parallels are pretty close. This version does not have the vivacity of Copland's own recording with the LSO but is very good.

The Red Pony suite is in seven movements. Previn's sense of theatre predictably benefits the music which is given with the sort brilliant pointillistic colouring you find in good Janáček and Prokofiev interpretations. This music is innocent and poignant - close to Arnold's music for Whistle Down the Wind.

The disc's culmination comes with the grandeur of Lincoln Portrait. Adlai Stevenson is not as dramaturgically impressive as, say, Charlton Heston (Vanguard) but his sincerity is patent. The effect is spoiled because his voce sounds as if it was dubbed after the music had been recorded. That sense of scale and space so powerful in James Earl Jones recording on Delos and in the Heston is rather watered down here.

These are healthy analogue recordings from 1958 to 1963. Decent notes are provided. Documentation is pretty good; better than the same series' Tchaikovsky concertos disc just reviewed.

A couple of weaker moments (both coincidentally Philadelphian) do not unduly disturb the recommendation for this gentle Copland entrée.

Rob Barnett

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