Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Donald Macleod explores Copland's life and music through the prism of five key relationships.

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Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01*20060102

Donald Macleod introduces works from Copland's student days in Paris under the guiding hand of Nadia Boulanger, and from his early years back home in the troubled period surrounding the Depression.

Music for the Theatre

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Hugh Wolff (conductor)

Help us, O Lord - from Four Motets

Dunedin Consort

Ben Parry (director)

Piano Variations

Joanna MacGregor (piano)

Short Symphony

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

Leonard Slatkin (conductor).

01*20081020

The programme considers the composer's long and fruitful friendship with his composition teacher, the formidable Nadia Boulanger, who coaxed him to write an organ symphony and also put him in touch with the Russian-born conductor Serge Koussevitsky.

Grohg - ballet in one act

Cleveland Orchestra

Oliver Knussen (conductor)

Argo 443 203-2 - Trs 1-6

Symphony for Orchestra and Organ

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Litton (conductor)

Delos DE 3221 - Trs 13-15

01New York20130506

Donald Macleod looks at Copland's works associated with New York city.

Born in New York at the beginning of the 20th century, Copland would call the city home for most of his life. Donald Macleod explores the impact this had on his musical development, and the opportunities it afforded him - from beginning his studies as a composer during the birth of jazz, to his role in the 1939 New York World Fair.

0220060103

Copland recognised the value of incorporating folk music into his work as a way of attracting a wider audience. Donald Macleod introduces some of Copland's most popular folk-inspired works, plus incidental music written for a theatre group who shared his politically driven ideals.

El Salon Mexico

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Aaron Copland (conductor)

Billy the Kid Suite

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

Lark

Robert Hale (baritone)

New England Conservatory Chorus

Quiet City

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

02*20081021

Donald Macleod explores the role played in Copland's life by the Russian-born conductor Serge Koussevitzky, a musical entrepreneur of great charm, energy and dedication. He provided Copland with his first big break, and continued to commission major works from him thereafter.

Display of Action (Appalachian Spring suite)

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Serge Koussevitzky (conductor)

Biddulph WHL 050 - Tr 2

Concerto for piano and orchestra

Aaron Copland (piano)

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

Sony SM2K 47232 CD 2 - Trs 1-2

Two Pieces for String Orchestra

London Symphony Orchestra

Aaron Copland (conductor)

Sony SM2K 47232 CD 1 Trs 4-5

Symphonic Ode

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

RCA 09026 68541 2 - Tr 7

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

2/5. Donald Macleod explores the role played in Copland's life by the Russian-born conductor Serge Koussevitzky, a musical entrepreneur of great charm, energy and dedication. He provided Copland with his first big break, and continued to commission major works from him thereafter.

02Paris20130507

Donald Macleod looks at the works Copland wrote as a student in Paris in the early 1920s.

Copland left New York in 1921 to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He lived in the Montparnasse area of the city, among a large number of expatriate American writers, including Hemingway, and also travelled more widely in Europe, attending concerts and meeting composers. Donald Macleod explores Copland's experience of Paris, the outlook it gave him, and the pieces he worked on there.

03*20060104

With its infectious rhythms, many avant-garde choreographers of the time were drawn to Copland's music. Donald Macleod introduces a ballet written for Martha Graham which was an instant success with the public and critics alike; plus the famous fanfare which found its way into Copland's third symphony and a concerto commissioned by one of the leading bandleaders of the day - Benny Goodman.

Fanfare for the Common Man

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

Appalachian Spring

St Luke's Chamber Ensemble

Violin Sonata (3rd movement)

Gil Shaham (violin)

Andre Previn (piano)

Clarinet Concerto

Benny Goodman (clarinet)

Columbia Symphony Strings

Aaron Copland (conductor).

03*20081022

Donald Macleod explores Copland's friendship with Mexican composer Carlos Chavez - an extraordinary meeting of minds and interests that endured for more than 50 years. They hit it off immediately after their first meeting, and Copland's first visit to Mexico transformed his music, feeding into a number of his works, including the successful El Salon Mexico.

Street in a Frontier Town (Billy the Kid) (excerpt)

London Symphony Orchestra

Aaron Copland (conductor)

Sony SM3K 46559 CD 1 - Tr 4

Music for the Theatre (suite in five parts)

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Hugh Wolff (conductor)

Teldec 2292-46314-2 - Trs 1-5

Subjective (Statements for orchestra)

Sony SM2K 47232 CD 2 - Trs 5-10

Short Symphony (Symphony No 2)

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

RCA 09026 68541 2 - Trs 4-6

El Salon Mexico

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Eduardo Mata (conductor)

RCA 09026 63467 2 - Tr 14

03South America20130508

Donald Macleod looks at Copland's works based on the rhythms and melodies of Latin America

Donald Macleod continues his journey through the landscapes and locations of Copland's life and work, today looking at South America. Copland travelled to Mexico in 1932, and it would be the first of many visits south of the border. He loved the vibrancy, colour, people and food of Mexico, assimilating the sounds and rhythms into his own music, and taking the same inspiration from Cuban and Brazilian musics.

0420060105

As a communist sympathiser, Copland was caught up in Senator McCarthy's witch-hunt of the 1950s and summoned to testify before the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities. Donald Macleod introduces works from those difficult years including his first serial work, highlights from his only opera and song-settings of poems by one of America's greatest 19th-century poets.

Simple Gifts

William Warfield (baritone)

Columbia Symphony Orchestra

Aaron Copland (conductor)

12 Poems of Emily Dickinson (selection)

Barbara Bonney (soprano)

Andre Previn (piano)

Piano Quartet

Martin Roscoe (piano)

Members of the Vanbrugh Quartet

The Tenderland - (extract)

Laurie....Joy Clements

Martin....Richard Cassilly

Top....Richard Fredericks

Grandpa Moss....Norman Treigle

Ma Moss....Claramae Turner

New York Philharmonic

04*20081023

Donald Macleod considers Copland's relationship with Hollywood, where he contributed a number of significant film scores. The composer got his foot in the door there in the late 1930s, with his music for a small documentary called The City, which brought him an invitation to score the film version of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Its two Academy Award nominations led to another movie commission, which Copland turned down, although he eventually composed four more scores.

Barley Wagons (incidental music for the film Of Mice and Men)

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

Leonard Slatkin (conductor)

BMG 09026 61699 2 - Tr 11

The Red Pony Suite

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Aaron Copland (conductor)

CBS MK 42429 - Trs 2-7

Music for a Great City (film score for Something Wild - 1961)

RCA RD60149 - Trs 5-8

04Americana20130509

Donald Macleod looks at the evocation of place in Copland's music.

Donald Macleod continues his survey of the evocation of place in Copland's music, looking today at some works associated with New England, and his 'hit of a lifetime', Appalachian Spring.

05*20081024

Donald Macleod explores Copland's relationship with the irrepressible Leonard Bernstein, an acolyte who became a fast friend and ultimately a vital musical conduit. Bernstein was a great admirer of Copland's fiercely aggressive Piano Variations and gave a memorable performance of the work at a party after the two first met.

Like a giant bomb (The Second Hurricane - Act 1)

Chorus of the High School of Music and Art, New York City

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

Sony SMK 60560 - Tr 7

Piano Sonata

Leonard Bernstein (piano)

BMG GD 60915 - Trs 8-10

Danzon Cubano, version for 2 pianos

William Chapman Nyaho, Susanna Garcia (pianos)

Centaur CRC 2405 - Tr 7

Connotations

Deutsche Gramophon 431 672-2 - Tr 9

05 LAST*20060106

Copland was feted wherever he went as composer, conductor and ambassador for American music. Donald Macleod introduces some of Copland's final works, including one of his most widely played chamber works and an orchestral piece commissioned by his friend and greatest supporter, Leonard Bernstein.

Midsummer Nocturne

Leo Smit (piano)

Nonet

Members of the St Luke's Chamber Orchestra

Inscape

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

Duo for flute and piano

Jennifer Stinton (flute)

Malcolm Martineau (piano)

3 Latin-American Sketches (No 1)

New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Aaron Copland (conductor).

05 LASTWest20130510

Donald Macleod takes a journey west through Copland's music.

Donald Macleod takes a journey West through Copland's music of the open prairies, looking at the currents behind his American works, from patriotism to McCarthyism.