Minnesota Public Radio
MPR Home | News | Music | Radio Listening | Events | Your Voice | About US | Support Us | Help
Music Search Music:

10 SourcesHome

If you're interested in Copland - what next -10 pieces, composers, books to investigate.

starThe Tender Land
Copland's only full-scale opera, neglected for many years, though recently there's been an upswing in performances. The story tells of a young woman on a Midwestern farm and her hopes and uncertainties as she grows into adulthood.

star Piano Variations
Also from the 1920s. The musical approach has been described as "proto-twelve-tone."

This was the Copland work that the young Leonard Bernstein fell in love with; once while playing it, he pounded his foot so enthusiastically that a chandelier fell in the apartment below.

star Piano Trio (Vitebsk)
Copland didn't make much overt use of his Jewish heritage - this is one of the handful of pieces in which he did. Vitebsk makes use of traditional Jewish melody, but in Copland's 1920s style.

star Virgil Thomson
Are there other composers who sound "like Copland?" Even before Copland did it, Virgil Thomson was blending traditional American tunes and Parisian modernism in works like the Symphony on a Hymn Tune or The Plow That Broke the Plains.

star Leonard Bernstein
You can hear Copland's rhythms and harmonies in Bernstein; you'll also hear Bernstein's own flamboyance and love of popular idioms. Everybody knows Bernstein's Broadway music, like West Side Story and On the Town. You might also try the Anniversaries for solo piano, or the ballet Fancy Free.

star Igor Stravinsky
Stravinsky had some kind of influence on virtually every classical composer who came after him, including Copland. It's hard to believe that the pounding rhythms of The Rite of Spring aren't lurking in the background of El Salon Mexico, or that Copland's lean pared-down instrumentation doesn't owe something to Stravinsky's example, say in the suite from The Soldier's Tale.

star Roy Harris
If the optimistic, expansive side of Copland is what appeals to you, check out the music of the Oklahoma-born Roy Harris, especially his Third Symphony.

Martha Graham
Darius Milhaud stamp

star Darius Milhaud
Copland's mining of jazz and Latin-American music may have been inspired by pieces like La Creation du Monde and the Saudades do Brasil by Darius Milhaud, one of the 20th-century composers Copland respected most.

star David Diamond
"It seems a long time since anyone has written an Espana or a Bolero-the kind of brilliant piece that everyone loves," said Copland, speaking of his own El Salon Mexico.

The jubilant Rounds for string orchestra by David Diamond is another American work in the same vein.

star Books on Copland
Copland collaborated with historian Vivian Perlis on two books of oral history, and both books are indispensable - Copland: 1900-43 and Copland: Since 1943. Almost as interesting as the text are the photographs and facsimiles of programs, clippings, and manuscripts.

For a third-person view of Copland's life, turn to the excellent new biography, Aaron Copland, by Howard Pollock. The chronological story of Copland's life is intercut with essay-like chapters: "Copland and the Theater," "The Usable Past," etc., and explores areas that Copland, in his own books, had treated discreetly: his political sympathies, his homosexuality, his relations with other composers.

10 Chapters | 10 Works | 10 Anecdotes | 10 Legacies | 10 People
10 Sources | 10 Quotes About Copland | 10 Facts
10 Quotes from Copland | 10 Audio Clips | Copland 10x10 Home


Minnesota Public Radio