One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Full tracklist at end of review 
SONY 88697 70047 2 [205:20]

Experience Classicsonline

CD 1
Rawness and ringing resonance make Copland's famous Fanfare shine. So it proves with the composer's 1968 LSO version from London's Walthamstow Town Hall. Tilson Thomas and the SFSO find pastoral tension, hushed fragility and a super-taut precise terpsichore in their complete Appalachian spring from 1999. It's only a pity that the whole ballet is given as a single 35+ minute track. This reading rivals the composer's own version on the same label. The step to analogue for the 1965 composer-led Quiet City is announced by an increasingly inconspicuous bed of hiss. This essay in neon mall and boulevard solitude registers most sharply. The concentrated little Clarinet Concerto is shaped with a few rough edges yet with the authority of the commissioning artist by Benny Goodman. It is paced to introspective perfection. The other soloists are harpist Laura Newell (who recorded the Bax Quintet in the early days of LP) and the pianist, Abba Bogin. It moves through a slow-dripping pavane to Bergian-dense intensity to a central dance with honey-sharpened edges.
CD 2
I have always loved An Outdoor Overture with its out-West brashness and revels in evening-fall trumpetry - why didn't Copland write a Trumpet Concerto? The work has a propulsion and turbo-zip suggestive of Walton's and Moeran's concert overtures and rhapsodies. Time has taken its toll here and the violins have a rasp that once I never noticed. I love the tension release at 6:45 onward as the music accelerates through joy into grandeur into brash. It's great fun and well worth tracking down. Next come the two cowboy ballet suites recorded by Bernstein and the NYPO in 1959-60. Not my favourite Copland but they have their moments such as the Stravinskian rough-blown moments in The Open Prairie. I noticed touches of Vitebsk, Weill and klezmer in Celebration. The final segment of Billy - The Open Prairie again - sustains the transition into Lincoln Portrait. The Portrait is another Copland work of considerable majesty. I have always had a weakness for music with orator and music as in RVW's Oxford Elegy and Bliss's Morning Heroes. I hope one day to hear a good recording of Roy Harris's Tenth Symphony (also with orator and also with a Lincoln theme) but until then Copland's Lincoln Portrait as recorded in London for the orchestra with Henry Fonda's vocal tracks added in NYC three years later. It works with grace and majesty. The work is laid out in three tracks. Fonda does not go in for dramatisation - it’s all rather flat and unassuming; in fact that very modesty paradoxically supercharges the music. The message - especially the references to the tyrannical principle - must have got under the skin of America’s anti-communist gaggle. The disc ends with another glowing gem, this time from The Tender Land which I ‘learnt’ from a tape of that CBS LP of highlights. Here John Williams directs Boston Pops forces. The Promise of Living still has the power to send goose pimples down my spine from the nape of the neck to the feet. It is delightful … as in full of delight. There is something of Russian crowd scenes in this and again the words “with sharing and joint effort” may well have touched off the bigotry of 1950s America; any suggestion of collective effort being anathema in many circles.
CD 3
Copland's many visits to London for concerts and recording sessions bore fruit in 1972. He joined with the New Philharmonia for the Appalachia-mode music for the film The Red Pony. Corral speaks of prairie loneliness then rangy and brazen dazzle. Warfield's Old American Songs (set 1) is a classic of poetry and is almost Delian in the first song and in Long Time Ago. The songs also encompass raw vaudeville, gawky fairground, cheap gaudy and novelty comic. The latter in I bought me a cat.
Copland was subjected to the McCarthy show-trial sessions in the 1950s. Their conduct provided uneasy echoes of the harangues of the Roland Freisler trials in Nazi Germany. While Copland emerged with some dignity Hollywood promptly dropped Copland. Music for Movies is a suite of film music pre-dating the severed parting of the ways. They sample both bustle and rustic idylls from The City, Of Mice and Men and Our Town.
The two movement Piano Concerto has Copland as pianist and Bernstein conducting. It has pride of last place here with its jazzy dissonance and angularity rendered without a flinch. It recalls Stravinsky's Ragtime and that composer’s more challenging works for piano and orchestra. It does however rise to some glowing heights in the second movement which Bernstein and Copland beat and roar out with great swaying and stomping power. There is a touch here of Arnold's Concerto for Phyllis and Cyril.
Largely absent from this set is anything at all thorny or dissonant. The works of the 1960s and 1970s such as Inscape, Connotations and the Piano Quartet. Also missing is the very popular El Salon Mexico - perhaps its being south of the Rio Grande dictated its omission.
For contrast and a far wider Copland range you could try to track down three two CD sets issued in 2002: A Copland Celebration.   

Rob Barnett

See also reviews of the Barber, Bernstein, Ives and Williams sets.

Track listing
Fanfare for the Common Man, for brass & percussion (from Symphony No. 3) 3:19
London Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring, ballet for 13 instruments 35:52
San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas
Quiet City, complete incidental music 9:53
London Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland
Clarinet Concerto 16:55
Abba Bogin (Piano), Benny Goodman (Clarinet), Columbia Symphony Orchestra Laura Newell (Harp) Columbia Symphony Orchestra Aaron Copland
An Outdoor Overture 8:59
London Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland 
Rodeo, selections from the ballet (including "Four Dance Episodes") 18:25
New York Philharmonic/Leonard Bernstein
Billy the Kid, orchestral suite from the ballet 20:16
New York Philharmonic/Leonard Bernstein
Lincoln Portrait, for speaker & orchestra 15:08
London Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland
The Tender Land, opera - (The Promise of Living) 5:38
John Williams Boston Pops Orchestra
The Red Pony, suite for orchestra 24:35
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Aaron Copland
Old American Songs, for voice & piano, Book 1 12:24
William Warfield (Baritone)
Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland
The City, documentary film score - (New England Countryside) 6:13
Of Mice and Men, film score - (Barley Wagons) 2:36
The City, documentary film score - (Sunday Traffic) 2:45
Our Town, film score - (Grover’s Corner) 3:14
Of Mice and Men, film score - (Threshing Machines) 3:07
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Aaron Copland
Piano Concerto 16:10
New York Philharmonic/Leonard Bernstein



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.