Notes and Editorial Reviews
Copland: Orchestral works (including Billy the Kid; Rodeo; Appalachian Spring; El Salon Mexico; Fanfare for the Common Man)
Various orchestras/Aaron Copland. Sony SM3K 46559 [“Orchestral & Ballet Works, 1936-1948,” 3 CDs, including Billy the Kid Suite; Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo; Appalachian Spring Suite; El Salon Mexico; Fanfare for the Common Man] (recorded 1963-76).
Aaron Copland made numerous recordings of his own music, including an extensive series for CBS during the 1960s and ’70s, mostly with London orchestras. He was not an especially proficient conductor – consequently, the performances he conducted often lacked pace and rhythmic punch. His last recordings of the most popular of his scores, reissued by Sony, do a good job of conveying the overall shape of the pieces, and deliver telling characterizations of many episodes. Details emerge that are lost in some other accounts, and there is an appealing gentleness and sweetness to the approach. But the readings do not have as much grip as those of Bernstein and Slatkin, among others, and in spite of the authority they automatically possess, they are not necessarily preferable. – Ted Libbey, author of
The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection.