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CDs: Crotchet


Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Fanfare for the Common Man (1942) [3:39]
Appalachian Spring (1943) [36:42]
El Salon Mexico (1932) [10:50]
Old American Songs (1951) [24:55]
Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico/Enrique Batiz (Fanfare)
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin (Appalachian)
Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Eduardo Mata (Mexico)
Bruce Hubbard (baritone)
Orchestra of St Luke's/Dennis Russell Davies (Songs)
rec. March 1985, Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico City (Fanfare); October 1985, Powell Symphony Hall, St Louis, Missouri (Appalachian); May 1986, Cliff Temple Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas (Mexico); 27, 31 October 1989,Manhattan Center, New York City (Songs). DDD
Experience Classicsonline

Copland collections from EMI are not exactly rare. The company’s shelves are well stocked with material from which to choose. This disc has been assembled from digital tapes made in America during the 1980s.
We have an unexpectedly staid and understated Fanfare. It's a nice contrast with the neon rhetoric of the composer and of Bernstein. Slatkin delivers an effective version of the complete ballet Appalachian Spring with some superbly calculated and controlled textures, touching eloquence (Meno mosso, tr. 7), surging heroics and in the Allegro - solo Dance of the Bride a tight and taut rhythmic snap. The Saint Louis principals are permitted personal profiles and identity in their various solos as in the Moderato (tr. 4). There is much here that is pleasing but the composer's original with the LSO is to be preferred if this work is your priority. Both Mata and Batiz hail from South America. In simplistic terms it is fitting that Mata is heard in El Salon Mexico. It's a great version and superbly recorded. Perhaps he scouts over emotional detail as at 2:49 (far too fast) but this is sappy spectacular stuff. Bruce Hubbard leads us in fine authentic style through the cheery-poetic-gawky Old American Songs. His enunciation is excellent and he acts the songs - pouring in shovel-loads of character. Who would have thought that the first five of these songs were premiered in 1951 by Copland's friends Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten. By the way there's no sign anywhere here of the atonal Copland of Inscape and the other works of the 1960s and 1970s. 
A generous, capable and engaging Copland collection.
Rob Barnett


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