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Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Symphonies / Wilson, BBC Philharmonic


Release Date: 01/05/2018 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5195  
Composer:  Aaron Copland
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The exploration by John Wilson of Copland’s major orchestral output with the BBC Philharmonic has now reached Volume 3, with this invigorating programme recorded in surround-sound. It opens with An Outdoor Overture, a cheerful and breezy piece which Copland composed in 1938, intending to spearhead an initiative encouraging ‘American Music for American Youth’. Originally written for organ and orchestra, the First Symphony is presented here in its revised version (1926-28) for large orchestra. The six concise movements of Statements (1932-35) introduce a new style, their gritty soundscapes being stunning examples of what Copland later would refer to as ‘hard-bitten’ pieces. The concluding work is the expressive, fantastical Dance Symphony Read more (1929) which explores different styles of symphonic movements, its dark aura a residue of its origin as a ballet on a grotesque vampire theme, composed 1922-25 and named Grohg. The symphony has remained a highly controversial piece ever since. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
An Outdoor Overture by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
2.
Symphony no 1 by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; USA 
3.
Statements by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1935; USA 
4.
Dance Symphony by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  John Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great performances of early Copland December 23, 2017 By Art Music Lady See All My Reviews "The real meat on this CD are the works from the 1920s and early ‘30s such as the Symphony No. 1 (1926-28). Originally written as a symphony for organ and orchestra in 1924, when he was still under the spell of the French modernists of that time, it is more astringent in harmony and much leaner in orchestral texture than his later, more populist works. Copland really liked the work, which was recorded in its original form by E. Power Biggs and the New York Philharmonic in 1967, but realized that not every concert hall could supply the organ necessary, so he rewrote it for orchestra alone. This is a truly great performance, bracing and emotionally committed, and should easily convert even the most skeptical listener to Copland’s early style, particularly the faster, more energetic section beginning at the seven-minute mark and continuing on through to the end. (In its original form with organ, the ending was once described by a Chicago critic as “screaming like a wild banshee which by some twist of locale has found itself at the Wailing Wall.”) Equally interesting, and even more bracing, are the six Statements from 1932-35, one of his last such works in this style. Virgil Thomson, in an equally early review (for him), called it “A manly bouquet, fresh and sincere and frank and straightforward.” The opening section, “Militant,” is played in a granitic, bracing style that echoes Shostakovich, while the second, “Cryptic,” foreshadows such American composers as Roy Harris and Walter Piston. Slow-moving, soft brass notes and chords are heard against a backdrop of tubas and trombones. Some of this orchestration, but not this style, found its way into some of Copland’s later work. “Dogmatic” follows, equally bracing as the first movement but more lumbering than aggressive. By contrast, “Subjective” is another quiet, mysterious piece with a louder section towards the end, more conventionally tonal than many of the others. “Jingo” is based on the song The Sidewalks of New York, its familiar tune woven in and out of the structure very cleverly and artistically, and not always prominent. Oddly, the ending just fades away abruptly, whereas “Prophetic” comes across as almost enigmatic and objective in its writing, at least until the piece explodes in volume before again receding from the sound barrier. The Dance Symphony of 1929 came about as part of a composition competition sponsored by RCA Victor records. Copland had, say the liner notes, wanted to submit his Symphonic Ode, but not being able to complete it in time he edited scenes from his weird, Gothic,unperformed ballet Grohg. The liner notes make a big deal of the “dark” quality of this music, but to my ears much of it sounded quite chipper, just in an entirely different style from Billy the Kid or Rodeo. It is most definitely dance-oriented, however, with strong, insistent rhythms and his leaner, earlier mode of orchestration. There is no question but that this is one of the finest Copland discs extant. I recommend it highly! --Lynn Rene Bayley, The Art Music Lounge" Report Abuse
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