Copland - Orchestral Works 1: Ballets | Chandos CHSA5164

Copland - Orchestral Works 1: Ballets


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Label: Chandos

Cat No: CHSA5164

Format: Hybrid SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 29th January 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choice



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 reveal Copland’s other use of folk material, as a musical souvenir of foreign lands that had made an impression on him.

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


I can't remember any previous single-disc issue of Copland's orchestral music as stuffed full of popular favourites as this one. The performances are superb. Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine March 2016
However, none of these recordings [Tilson Thomas, Bernstein], not even BIS’s excellent multi-channel production for Litton, matches the spaciousness, transparency and weight of the sound on the new Chandos disc. It’s the finest-sounding recording to have come my way for some time. Wilson’s performances are similarly impressive, and he secures superb playing from the BBC Philharmonic. The opening Fanfare for the Common Man – using the original scoring for brass and percussion rather than the version for full orchestra that opens the finale of the Third Symphony – has the sort of impact that’s guaranteed to bring complaints from the neighbours, assuming you can hear them knocking. Christian Hoskins
Gramophone March 2016
Litton has the orchestra stylistically just right, moving seamlessly and organically between moments of cowboy-style local colour – piping tin whistle and sleazy trombones – to the “proper”-style playing. Recorded in the orchestra’s Denver home venue, the sound is spacious, so that in Billy the Kid’s running battle the gunfire really does crackle. Erica Jeal
The Guardian 8 January 2016

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