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Name of Work

Copland,, Aaron (1900-1990)
Suite from Appalachian Spring (2006)

Suite from Appalachian Spring


Jun 18, 2006

Mathieu Dufour, Flute
Larry Combs, Clarinet
William Buchman, Bassoon
Jasmine Lin, Violin
Joseph Genualdi, Viola
Russell Hershow, Violin
Rong-Yan Tang, Violin
Rami Solomonow, Viola
Robert Swan, Viola
Brant Taylor, Cello
Kenneth Olsen, Cello
Bradley Opland, Double bass
James Giles, Piano

COPLAND-Suite from Appalachian Spring (CHAMBER VERSION)

Composed in 1944

Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, one of America's greatest patrons of the arts, went to see a dance recital by Martha Graham in 1942. So taken with the genius of the dancer-choreographer was Mrs. Coolidge that she offered to have three ballets specially composed for her. Miss Graham chose as composers of the music Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith and an American whose work she had admired for over a decade — Aaron Copland. In 1931, Miss Graham had staged Copland's Piano Variations as the ballet Dithyramb, and she was eager to have another dance piece from him, especially in view of his recent successes with Billy the Kid and Ro¬deo. She devised a scenario based on her memories of her grandmother's farm in turn-of-the-20th-century Pennsylvania, and it proved to be a perfect match for the direct, quintessentially American style that Copland espoused in those years. Edwin Denby's description of the ballet's action from his review of the New York premiere in May 1945 was reprinted in the published score: "[The ballet concerns] a pioneer celebration in spring around a newly built farmhouse in the Pennsylvania hills in the early part of the 19th century. The bride-to-be and the young farmer-husband enact the emotions, joyful and apprehensive, their new domestic partnership invites. An older neighbor suggests now and then the rocky confidence of experience. A revivalist and his followers remind the new householders of the strange and terrible aspects of human fate. At the end, the couple are left quiet and strong in their new house." The premiere of Appalachian Spring was given on October 30, 1944 (in honor of Mrs. Coolidge's 50th birthday) in the auditorium of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where the limited space allowed Copland to use a chamber orchestra of only thirteen instruments (flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano and nine strings). Appalachian Spring was repeated in New York in May to great acclaim, and garnered the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Music and the New York Music Critics Circle Award as the outstanding theatrical work of the 1944-1945 season.

Program Notes by Dr. Richard E. Rodda

Performance date: June 18, 2006

Performance Audio