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Copland: Tender Land Suite, Appalachian Spring / Sidlin, Yunus, Macneil

Release Date: 11/18/1997 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7403   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Aaron Copland
Performer:  Monica YunusRobert MacNeil
Conductor:  Murry Sidlin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Third Angle New Music Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Murry Sidlin has spent a great deal of time and energy trying to rescue Copland's opera The Tender Land from the semioblivion caused by the bad critical response with which the work was first greeted. In addition to conducting performances of the opera throughout the United States, Sidlin— with the composer's blessing—made a reduction of the score from its original version for large orchestra to one that uses just 13 instruments, the same instrumentation, in fact, as the original Applachian Spring. Not only is the reduced scoring skillfully done and consistently effective, but it has also encouraged performances of the work by small opera companies unable to afford to mount the original. Sidlin, then, has accomplished a great deal, for The Read more Tender Land is really a wonderful piece. There are a few problems with the libretto—although no more than in the librettos of some far more famous operas. But on the whole, the simple story is charming and appealing, and the music, not surprisingly, is always tuneful and effective. Much of it, in fact, is quite touching.

The suite that Sidlin assembled from the opera, unlike the one the composer himself recorded, is divided into seven separate movements and includes vocal sections for soprano and tenor (the two leading roles of the opera). In this way, we get to hear both of the principals' big solo numbers, a sizable portion of their splendid love duet, and a finale based on the moving "Promise of Living." The logical companion to this is, of course, Appalachian Spring in its original chamber scoring, here performed in its form as a suite.

These are very likable performances. Robert MacNeil is a good Martin, with a strong, appealing sound. Monica Yunus has a nice, youthful voice, very well suited to Laurie's music. Unfortunately, the recorded sound is rather dry and not very flattering to the singers. The reading of Appalachian Spring is nicely shaped and played with great commitment. While ideally one should acquire the recording of the complete opera on Virgin and the complete score of the original version of Appalachian Spring, these performances from Sidlin are most enjoyable and certainly worth investigating.

-- Richard Burke, FANFARE [7/1998] Read less

Works on This Recording

Appalachian Spring: Suite by Aaron Copland
Conductor:  Murry Sidlin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Third Angle New Music Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945; USA 
Notes: This selection is Copland's original chamber version of "Appalachian Spring". 
The Tender Land: Orchestral Suite by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Monica Yunus (Soprano), Robert MacNeil (Tenor)
Conductor:  Murry Sidlin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Third Angle New Music Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954/1955; USA 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Murray Sidlin 

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