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Copland: Billy The Kid; Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite / Gould

Release Date: 05/11/1993 
Label:  Rca Victor Living Stereo Catalog #: 61667   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Aaron CoplandFerde Grofé
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

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 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 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
Read more 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.

FANFARE: James Reel [reviewing RCA 67904]
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Works on This Recording

Billy the Kid: Suite by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Morton Gould
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Morton Gould Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
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. 
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. 

Sound Samples

Introduction: The Open Prairie
Street in a Frontier Town
Mexican Dance and Finale
Prairie Night: Card Game
Gun Battle
Celebration: After Billy's Capture
Billy's Death
The Open Prairie (Reprise)
Buckaroo Holiday
Corral Nocturne
Honky Tonk Interlude
Saturday Night Waltz
Painted Desert
On the Trail

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