September 7, 2009 – 4:04 am

The much loved American suite, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, played by a 13-piece chamber orchestra begins Classical September.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Ballet For Martha (Appalachian Spring Suite) [no label, 1CD]

Live at Fraser Performance Center, WGBH-FM Studios , Boston, Massachusetts, USA , January 22, 2009. A very good FM stereo broadcast.

“Completed 1944 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, first performance October 30, 1944, in Washington, D.C. Originally scored for 13 instruments… Even the day before the premiere, the work was still referred to as simply ‘Ballet for Martha,’ [Martha Graham] but at the last minute the name ‘Appalachian Spring’ was taken from a poem by Hart Crane.” - Geoff Kuenning

The new title was to be an accurate summation of the suite as it evoked the vision of a great mountain range, the Appalachians, and spring. When first conceived however, it was to be a smaller work for a ballet performance by Martha Graham and, as Copland described, the music was to celebrate a rural wedding of a farmer and his bride. The strings imitated fiddlers at a square dance during a celebration in America’s Old West.

It should be noted that Copland did not know of the new title and had no visions of mountains or spring when he wrote Ballet For Martha.

By 1944, Copland already had works like Billy The Kid, Rodeo and A Lincoln Portrait completed and had a reputation as an American composer who wasn’t shy about incorporating American folk tunes into his music. His music was “Americana” long before the term was invented and it had a feel unlike the gloomy or romantic European classical music.

Copland stamped his personality into his music. When he ventured into writing Hollywood movie scores, he never borrowed from traditional classical music preferring to be a modern composer. His scores are vastly different from Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks that pop culture fans are more familiar with. Copland’s music opened the American landscape and gave space to the plains and valleys and actively encouraged that American optimism, the pioneer’s spirit for adventure.

This fresh performance of the original 1944 version of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring Suite” is by Boston’s Discovery Ensemble Orchestra. It’s the difference between a full band and an unplugged session. The scaled down performance of Appalachian Spring Suite is more intimate and folksy than its big brother orchestral version.

Shared on the net as “A Zootype project, January 2009″. Thank you.
- Professor Red

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring Suite (Ballet for Martha) Original arrangement for 13 instruments
Click here for Part A (9.5MB)
Click here for Part B (2.5MB)
Click here for Part C (3.5MB)
Click here for Part D (5.0MB)
Click here for Part E (7.2MB)
Click here for Part F (3.8MB)

Total time: 23:08m

Discovery Ensemble Orchestra with Courtney Lewis, conducting

Best version of Appalachian Spring? You can’t argue with Leonard Bernstein’s Bernstein Century - Copland: Appalachian Spring, Rodeo which received a rerelease on CD in 1997. The Appalachian Spring was recorded by Bernstein and released in 1961. Buy it here.

  1. One Response to “REMEMBER SEPTEMBER”

  2. American music.

    By BobAnderson on Sep 8, 2009

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