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Copland, Grofe / Morton Gould


Release Date: 02/07/2006 
Label:  Rca Victor Living Stereo Catalog #: 67904   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Aaron CoplandFerde Grofé
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



COPLAND Billy the Kid: Suite; Waltz. Rodeo: Suite. GROFÉ Grand Canyon Suite ? Morton Gould, cond; ?His? O ? RCA 67904 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 78:10)


Morton Gould, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, and Paul Hindemith were composers first and conductors second, but of that company Gould was by far the most experienced and secure baton-wielder, and he Read more knew exactly how to get what he wanted from any orchestra in any kind of music, not just his own. In the 1950s and early 1960s, RCA had him pegged mainly as a pops conductor, although he was also able to record more serious music, too. The material on this SACD reissue falls about halfway between the extremes: colorful, populist concert-hall works. Gould and his New York pickup orchestra deliver it all splendidly.


First, the playing of Gould?s ad-hoc group is more secure and idiomatic than what Copland himself could usually draw from the standing English orchestras with which he made most of his stereo recordings (although those performances are quite good considering how little preparation time they had). Second, Gould unfailingly elicits from his players great energy and precision, but also a full tone and Romantic lyricism where called for. And listen to all the careful but not self-conscious detail of these readings. Thanks largely to the balance slightly favoring the percussion, the gun battle in Billy the Kid sounds not like an orchestra doing a cartoonish imitation of gunfire, but exactly like guns and explosions (though, admittedly, like anachronistic machine guns). And how about that upward slide at the beginning of ?On the Trail? in the Grand Canyon Suite , before the famous hee-haw downward slide? It?s a little thing, but an important foreshadowing and unifying element that few other conductors bother with.


Criticisms? Well, the string harmonics at the beginning of Grofé?s ?Sunset? scrape a bit more than is ideal, and the beginning of Rodeo has a bit too much reverb for optimum clarity, especially given the brisk tempo. Not exactly deal-breakers.


In general, these three-track recordings are richer than the drier, brighter Bernstein/Columbia SACDs that constitute this reissue?s most serious multichannel competition. The several quasi-offstage brass effects come off very well, not just at the expected spots in the Grand Canyon Suite but also in the ?Prairie Night: Card Game? movement of Billy the Kid . Increasing the appeal of this disc is the inclusion of two pieces left out of the standard Copland suites, the waltz from Billy the Kid and the ?Honky Tonk Interlude? from Rodeo .


FANFARE: James Reel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Billy the Kid: Suite by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
2.
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Length: 21 Minutes 16 Secs. 
3.
Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
Length: 32 Minutes 23 Secs. 
4.
Billy the Kid: Waltz by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 

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