Fifteen Years

“Quiet City”, Aaron Copland (1941).

statue-of-liberty-world-trade-centre-twin-towers-new-york-city-2

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Music For The Day

A moving performance of Aaron Copland’s “Billy The Kid”, arranged for two pianos and performed by Albert Tiu and Thomas Hecht:

 

The arrangement is slightly richer in detail than the solo piano version, yet still retains that essential, desolate sparseness that makes up so much of Copland’s best writing. In so doing, it also put me in mind of another of Copland’s works, the hugely evocative Quiet City with its glorious solo trumpet.

Happy Monday to my readers.

Music For The Day

A very different feel in today’s Music For The Day, quite a marked contrast from the frenetic and technically challenging piano music of the past few days. Today we feature the finale from Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”, incorporating the well-known Shaker melody “The Gift to be Simple”.

 

The close harmonies in both the strings and the woodwind are delightful, and of course are so much a part of Copland’s unique American sound.

This recording was performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, though my all-time favourite version remains the orchestrally slimmed-down original arrangement in the excellent recording by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the composer himself.

Music For The Day

“Quiet City”, by Aaron Copland, 1941. A beautiful, haunting piece for english horn, trumpet and strings, but most remarkable for the beautiful, yearning, pure, melismatic trumpet solo which soars over the still, muted orchestral accompaniment.

 

My favourite recording of this piece is by the London Symphony Orchestra and their principal trumpet of the time, Howard Snell, conducted by the composer himself; but in this case the images of still, quiet cities in the accompanying YouTube video make this the version to share.

The original version, scored for trumpet, saxophone, clarinets and piano (written as music for a play but never used) can be found here.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and productive start to the new week.