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Copland: Red Pony Suite, Prairie Journal / Falletta, Buffalo Philharmonic

Release Date: 10/31/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559240   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Aaron Copland
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although it's played and recorded frequently, there is a genuine difference between a decent performance of Rodeo and a really excellent one such as we have here. This difference can be summed up in two words: rhythm and tempo. When it comes to rhythm, it's not merely a question of hitting the syncopations in the opening movement and concluding Hoedown, but of being both accurate and relaxed enough to let the music swing. This is a quality that Bernstein's performances always had, and JoAnn Falletta understands it too. This gives the music both the necessary verve in the outer sections and real balletic grace in the two inner ones, reminding us that we are, after all, hearing a story told through
Read more physical movement.

When it comes to tempo, the issue is at once simpler and less impressionistic. In Buckaroo Holiday, speeds have to be quick enough to prevent the music from breaking up into discrete, detached bits. Once again, Falletta & Co. come through with flying colors. The music never sounds mechanical, disconnected, or excessively "Stravinskian". Copland disliked excessive sentimentality, but his music is never dry (the rich, warm, but clear sonics also help in this department). And what turns out to be a successful recipe for Rodeo works just as well in all of the other pieces here. Prairie Journal (a.k.a. Music for Radio) is one of the least known of Copland's "Westerns", but it's every bit as enjoyable as the three great ballets, and this is as fine a performance as you will hear anywhere. Letter from Home is an exercise in nostalgia that never turns overly sweet.

Best of all, perhaps, is The Red Pony, one of the great film scores of all time, and a glorious work that for some reason seldom gets played live. Copland's invention is of exceptionally high quality throughout, and once again you can hear from the unusual freshness of the opening bars how effortlessly Falletta and the Buffalo players get into the spirit of the music. There are so many delightful moments, from the raucous Circus Music to the unforgettable Walk to the Bunkhouse, a piece that has become the very essence of musical Americana. Finally, it's great to see one of the very popular pieces, like Rodeo, coupled with some less ubiquitous examples of Copland's genius. A wonderful disc! [10/20/2006]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Prairie Journal by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Length: 10 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Length: 18 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Letter from Home by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944/1962; USA 
Length: 6 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Red Pony: Suite by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
Length: 23 Minutes 36 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Visions of the western frontier! July 3, 2015 By Susan R. (Mooresville, NC) See All My Reviews "I grew up with light classical, classical and some broadway music. This cd is one of my favorites of Aaron Copelands. I'm so glad to have it to enjoy again. I can close my eyes and see wild horses on the plains, running free." Report Abuse
 Copland Evokes the Great Plains May 19, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra plays a program of pure 'Americana' a la Aaron Copland on this outstanding Naxos disk. Copland's musical score to the film 'The Red Pony' and the famous Dance Episodes from the ballet 'Rodeo' are the principal works, and both receive vibrant, idiomatic performances from the BPO. The two shorter selections may not be as familiar, which is one reason why they qualify as mandatory listening! Prairie Journal is a jazzy miniature tone poem depicting the energy and color of the Great American Plains, while the strikingly evocative and emotional Letter From Home depicts the ties of the American public to the distantly-deployed American soldier in World War 2 (way before the advent of instant communication through E-mail, cell phones, etc.). This music may represent the spirit of a bygone American era, but its power to impress, satisfy, and provide wonderful listening is enduring. Altogether, Joanne Fallaetta and the BPO have made a solid musical statement of which Copland himself would be proud. Excellent Naxos sound makes this recording doubly attractive. Highly recommended!" Report Abuse
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