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10 Copland Workshome

starAppalachian Spring
All three of Copland's "Americana" ballets became instantly popular - this is the one that achieved iconic stature. The big moment is when the song "Simple Gifts" is introduced - first as a clarinet solo, then in variations, finally with the melody stated by the full ensemble.

Billy the Kid
Billy the Kid funeral poster

star Billy the Kid
This ballet isn't a historical picture of William Bonney, but a mythical account of Billy the Kid, who witnesses his mother's death by gunfire, becomes a gunslinger himself, and is shot down himself, against the backdrop of the settling of the American West.

star Clarinet Concerto
Written for jazzman Benny Goodman. You can imagine some of its flavor if you know that choreographer Jerome Robbins used it in a (non-fairy-tale) dance called The Pied Piper.

star El Salon Mexico
Traditional Mexican tunes, transformed and Copland-ized into a brilliant orchestral rhapsody. The title means roughly "The Mexico City Dance Hall," and was the name of a real establishment in Mexico that Copland visited in 1932.

star Fanfare for the Common Man
One of a series of patriotic fanfares commissioned during World War II by the Cincinnati Symphony.

Copland turned out brief pieces for special occasions throughout his career; as he wrote this one, he probably never imagined that it would go on to become one of his best-known works.

star Lincoln Portrait
After an extended orchestral introduction, the narrator of Lincoln Portrait rises to intone the words of Abraham Lincoln, concluding with the peroration of the Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln's prose has held up pretty well, but the connecting words of the text ("This is what he said. This is what Abe Lincoln said.") have led to numerous parodies over the years.

star Outdoor Overture
An exuberant piece, originally written for the music students at New York's High School for Music and the Arts.

star Quiet City
A slow, jazz-inflected nocturne, with searching solo lines for trumpet and English horn.

star Rodeo
Of all Copland's scores, the most immediately accessible and infectious. It's best known in the form of Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo - a slight abridgment of the complete ballet.

star Third Symphony
Copland's biggest score, apart from opera. Its composition coincided with the end of World War II, and Copland said it was "intended to reflect the euphoric spirit of the country at the time." The last movement incorporates the Fanfare for the Common Man, stated quietly at first, then in a big fortissimo statement at the very end.

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