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Aaron Copland
Program 3: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 2

As a part of Aaron Copland's move from modernism to populism, he created musical landscapes that were abstractions of the sounds he'd heard all his life-folk tunes, Jewish music, the blues and jazz. This music was so successful that we now associate it with the sound of America-with prairies, cowboys, and the heartland.

In this program, Michael Tilson Thomas explains Copland's musical transformation, and the political and artistic sentiments behind it. Included is a recorded rehearsal of the composer's greatest modernist work, the Symphonic Ode, with MTT conducting the New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy.

Audio Listen to the program


(If no performer is listed, piece performed by San Fransisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.)

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

Copland: Symphonic Ode (RCA 09026-63720-2)

Copland: Symphonic Ode in rehearsal
New World Symphony/Tilson Thomas

"The Golden Willow Tree"
The Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture
(Rounder 1516)

"The Golden Willow Tree" from "Old American Songs"
William Warfield/Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Copland
(Sony 89329)

Virgil Thomson: "The Plow That Broke the Plains"
Symphony of the Air/Stokowski
(Vanguard VSD 501)

Copland: "Billy the Kid"
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

Carlos Chavez: Symphony No. 2
New World Symphony/Tilson Thomas
(Argo 436 737-2)

"Camino Real de Colima"
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan
(Arhoole CD 7015)

Copland: "El Salon Mexico

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

William Billings: "David's Lamentation"
Recorded by Alan Lomax/From "White Spirituals of the Sacred Harp"
(New World 80205-2)

Copland: "In the Beginning" (SFS Chorus)

The MTT Files are supported by a grant from Koret Foundation Funds and by members of Minnesota Public Radio. The MTT Files are part of Keeping Score, made possible with lead funding from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and with generous support from The James Irvine Foundation, Marcia and John Goldman, Nan Tucker McEvoy, William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and others.

Michael Tilson Thomas