Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Ballets

Chandos: CHSA5164

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Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Ballets


Presto Disc of the Week

29th January 2016

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - March 2016



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Release date:

29th Jan 2016




79 minutes


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Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Ballets


Fanfare for the Common Man

El Salón México

Billy the Kid - Suite

Appalachian Spring - Suite

Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes)


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Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

For this new series, the conductor, arranger, and light music specialist John Wilson, a BBC Proms favourite, for the first time joins the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos, in orchestral works by Aaron Copland. This first volume features the suites from the American composer’s most famous ballets. Written in 1938, the hugely successful Billy the Kid is a fine illustration of the limpid orchestration and clarity that Copland achieved in works made famous thanks to their popular accessibility. Similarly, four years later, in Appalachian Spring, he created a lastingly influential American soundworld, firmly rooted in the diatonicism of simple folk melodies. A third ‘nationalist’ ballet, Rodeo, and Fanfare for the Common Man were composed in the same year, 1942, the latter being possibly the most instantly recognizable piece in the history of American orchestral music. The energetic dances and national melodies of El Salón México reveals Copland’s other use of folk material, as a musical souvenir of foreign lands that had made an impression of him.

This album was recorded two months after a highly successful concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

Fanfare for the Common Man

Aaron Copland: El salon Mexico

El salon Mexico

Aaron Copland: Billy the Kid

I. Introduction: The Open Prairie

II. Street in a Frontier Town

III. Mexican Dance and Finale

IV. Prairie Night: Card Game at Night

V. Gun Battle

VI. Celebration: After Billy's Capture

VII. Billy's Death

VIII. The Open Prairie again

Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring

I. Very Slowly

II. Allegro

III. Moderato

IV. Fast

V. Allegro

V. Meno Mosso

VI. As at first (slowly) - VII. Doppio movimento - VIII. Moderato

Aaron Copland: 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo

I. Buckaroo Holiday

II. Corral Nocturne

III. Saturday Night Waltz

IV. Hoe Down

Sunday Times

17th January 2016

“Wilson is in his element here, coaxing razzmatazzy playing from the BBC Philharmonic in the rhythmically charged Mexican Dance and battle scene from Billy the Kid, and the Buckaroo Holiday and Hoe-Down from Rodeo. There is tenderness, too, even a touch of Leonard Bernsteinesque wallowing in the unforgettable folksy melodies of Appalachian Spring”

Gramophone Magazine

March 2016

“Wilson's performances are…impressive, and he secures superb playing from the BBC Philharmonic…the three ballets receive strongly characterised interpretations, as piquant and affecting in the slower passages as they are punchy and ebullient in the faster ones…I enjoyed listening to this disc enormously.”

BBC Music Magazine

March 2016

“John Wilson shows an instinctive flair for Copland's syncopated and changing rhythms, and brings out all the music's broad humour and intimate poetry”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

29th January 2016

“His lifelong immersion in the sound-world of 30s and 40s American music is evident from the off, with the distant trumpets in Fanfare for the Common Man glowing with that vibrato-warmed vintage brass sound that’s so distinctive in his recordings of the great musicals...every single phrase of all the works presented here feels truly balletic, and the music never stops dancing.”

The Times

December 2016

“The conductor is a natural in Copland’s most celebrated ballet scores: Billy the Kid, Rodeo and Appalachian Spring.”

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