Aaron Copland

Composers

Biography

Born: 1900   Died: 1990   Country: USA   Period: 20th Century
Few figures in American music loom as large as Aaron Copland. As one of the first wave of literary and musical expatriates in Paris during the 1920s, Copland returned to the United States with the means to assume, for the next half century, a central role in American music as composer, promoter, and educator. Copland's sheer popularity and iconic status are such that his music has transcended the concert hall and entered the popular Read more consciousness; it both accompanies solemn and joyous celebrations the world over (Fanfare for the Common Man) and punctuates the familiar words "Beef: It's What's for Dinner!" (Rodeo) for millions of television viewers.

Copland was the youngest of five children born to Harris and Sarah Copland, Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who owned a department store in Brooklyn. He did not take formal piano lessons until he was 13, by which time he had also begun writing small pieces. Instead of attending college, Copland studied theory and composition with Rubin Goldmark and piano with Victor Wittgenstein and Clarence Adler, and attended as many concerts, operas, and ballets as possible. In 1921, he went to Fontainebleau, France, taking conducting and composition classes at the American Conservatory. He went on to study in Paris with Ricardo Viñes and Nadia Boulanger and spent the next three years soaking up all the European culture, both new and old, that he could. He learned to admire not only composers like Stravinsky, Milhaud, Fauré, and Mahler, but others such as author André Gide. Boulanger's performance of Copland's 1924 Organ Symphony with Koussevitzky was the beginning of a friendship between the conductor and composer that led to Copland teaching at the Berkshire Music Center (Tanglewood) from 1940 until 1965.

After his return to America, Copland drifted toward an incisive, austere style that captured something of the sobriety of Depression-torn America. The most representative work of this period -- the Piano Variations (1930) -- remains one of the composer's seminal efforts. He tried to avoid taking a university position, instead writing for journals and newspapers, organizing concerts, and taking on administrative duties for composers' organizations, trying to promote American music. By the mid-1930s, taking the direct engagement of and communication with audiences as one of his central tenets, Copland's compositions developed (in parallel with other composers like Virgil Thomson and Roy Harris) an "American" style marked by folk influences, a new melodic and harmonic simplicity, and an appealing directness free from intellectual pretension. This is nowhere more in evidence than in Copland's ballets of this period, and it finally earned him the respect of the general public. While Copland gradually became less prolific from the mid-1950s on, he continued to experiment and explore "fresh" means of musical expression, including a highly individual adoption of 12-tone principles in works like the Piano Fantasy and Connotations for orchestra. Still, the fundamentally lyrical nature of Copland's language remained intact and occasionally emerged -- with an often surprising retrospective air -- in works like the Duo for flute and piano (1971). He continued to teach and write and received numerous awards both in America and abroad. In 1958, he began conducting orchestras around the world, performing works by 80 other composers as well as his own over the next 20 years. By the mid-'70s, Copland had for all intents and purposes ceased composing. One of the last of his creative accomplishments was the completion of his two-volume autobiography (with musicologist Vivian Perlis), an essential document in understanding the growth of American music in the twentieth century. Read less

There are 23 Aaron Copland recordings available.

Select a specific Composer, Ensemble or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

or

Composers

Labels

Biography

Born: 1900   Died: 1990   Country: USA   Period: 20th Century
Few figures in American music loom as large as Aaron Copland. As one of the first wave of literary and musical expatriates in Paris during the 1920s, Copland returned to the United States with the means to assume, for the next half century, a central role in American music as composer, promoter, and educator. Copland's sheer popularity and iconic status are such that his music has transcended the concert hall and entered the popular Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Very Slowly
Allegro
Moderato
Fast
Subito allegro
As At First (Slowly)
Moderato - Coda
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes: I. Buckaroo Holiday
II. Corral Nocturne
III. Saturday Night Waltz
IV. Hoedown
The Tender Land (Opera in Three Acts): Act One: The day before graduation (late afternoon). Gently flowing (Abridged)
Moderate tempo (Abridged)
Moderately fast (Abridged)
Somewhat faster (Abridged)
With motion (Abridged)
Moderately (Abridged)
Trifle slower (Abridged)
Act Two: That evening. Lively and rough (Abridged)
Quite slow (Abridged)
Very broadly (Abridged)
I. Nature, the gentlest mother
II. There came a wind like a bugle
III. Why do they shut me out of Heaven?
IV. The world feels dusty
V. Heart, we will forget him
VI. Dear March, come in!
VII. Sleep is supposed to be
I. Morning on the Ranch
II. The Gift
III. Dream March and Circus Music
IV. Walk to the Bunkhouse
V. Grandfather's story
VI. Happy Ending
Orchestral Variations (1957): Theme: Grave;
Var. I - Var. XX;
Coda: Subito lento moderato
Dance Panels - 1959, rev. 1962 (Ballet in Seven Sections): I. Introduction: Moderato (Tempo di Valzer); Espressivo un poco rubato
II. Allegretto con tenerezza (un poco rubato)
III. Scherzando; Moderato
IV. Pas de Trois: Lento
V. Con brio
VI. Con moto
VII. Molto ritmico; Coda; come prima; Moderato
Music For A Great City (1963 - 1964): I. Skyline
II. Night Thoughts
III. Subway Jam
IV. Toward the Bridge
Theme: Grave;
Var. I - Var. XX;
Coda: Subito lento moderato
Two Pieces for String Orchestra (1928, 1923): Lento Molto (1928)
Rondino (1923)
Rondino (1923)
II. Cryptic
III. Dogmatic
IV. Subjective
V. Jingo
VI. Prophetic
Introduction: The Open Prairie
Street in a Frontier Town
Prairie Night (Card game at night)
CDomiio Publico I
Celebration (after Billy's capture)
Billy's Death
The Open Prairie Again
Appalachian Spring: Very slowly
Allegro
Moderato
Fast
Subito Allegro
As at first (slowly)
As at first (slowly)
Doppio movimento
Doppio movimento
Moderato - Coda
Moderato - Coda
Letter From Home
Letter From Home
Danzón Cubano
Danzón Cubano
Lincoln Portrait: Lento;
Subito allegro;
"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history..."
Symphony No. 3: I. Molto moderato - with simple expression
II. Allegro molto
III. Andantino quasi allegretto
IV. Molto deliberato
Very Slowly
Allegro
Moderato
Fast
Subito allegro
Meno mosso
Doppio movimento
Rather slow
Very deliberate
Poco piu mosso
A trifle slower
Molto allegro ed agitato
Broadly
Moderato (like a prayer)
Lincoln Portrait: Lento (Voice)
Subito Allegro (Voice)
"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history..." (Voice)
Billy The Kid (Ballet Suite): Introduction: The Open Praire
Street in a Frontier Town
Prairie Night (Card game at Night)
Gun Battle
Celebration (after Billy's Capture)
Billy's Death
The Open Praire Again
I. Morning on the Ranch
II. The Gift
III. Dream March and Circus Music
IV. Walk to the Bunkhouse
V. Grandfather's STory
VI. Happy Ending
Three Latin American Sketches: Estribillo
Paisaje Mexicano
Danza de Jalisco


YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In