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A Year
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Appalachian Spring

Appalachian Spring

Selected Composition

 

Aaron Copland, Appalachian Spring

 

 

Program Notes

 

I end this eight-day Copland "week" with what some might consider the expected choice, the safe choice, the known quantity. I considered, for that reason, picking something else.

 

But then I listened, again, to Appalachian Spring, and suddenly it did not matter what any critic might think of my choice. I love this piece.

 

As keys modulate and as chords progress, there is a release of tension in music: but also, I think, in the hearts of those that listen. Hearing Appalachian Spring again after fourteen years—I was deeply moved. 

 

So Appalachian Spring it is.

 

"Simple Gifts" returns in part 7 of Appalachian Spring. Copland writes five variations on it—including one in which trumpets take over and shout out the melody, fast: this sweet hymn turns into a powerful call to hope.

 

The serene part 8 of Appalachian Spring moves me more than any other. 

 

Here is Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic (from the album Bernstein Century: Copland) in Appalachian Spring:

 

Aaron Copland, Fanfare for the Common Man

 

 

Coda

 

I was holding my young cat Hermes when I listed to Appalachian Spring again after fourteen years. Suddenly, I felt a paw on my face. He leaned in and tapped his nose to mine. It is not the first time that a cat has tried to comfort me this year while I attempt a return to music.

 

 

 

 

I created "Like a Perhaps Hand," the image above, in 2006. It is based on Mandelbrot fractals. The title is from e. e. cummings' poem "Spring is like a perhaps hand": 
 

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) . . . 
changing everything carefully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Janácek, Idyll for Strings

Janácek, Idyll for Strings

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