Aaron Copland. American Composer Though he was the son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants, Aaron Copland (1900-1990) developed a distinctly “Americanâ€‌ sound

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Aaron Copland Slide 2 American Composer Though he was the son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants, Aaron Copland (1900-1990) developed a distinctly American sound that made him the leading American classical composer of the 1930s and 40s. At 21, Copland moved to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger and write the kind of avant-garde music that was popular at the time. After returning to New York, however, he wanted to write in style that expressed the landscape, culture and attitudes of the United States. Slide 3 Music for the Common Man Copland decided to simplify his music so it could be appreciated by the common man. He toned down the dissonance and wrote about things the common man could relate to. As the United States was entering into the dark days of WWII, Copland wrote a song to celebrate the rising importance and dignity of the common man in the world. While fanfares were usually written to celebrate the arrival of kings, his Fanfare for the Common Man (1942) celebrated the arrival of the basic, hard-working man and woman into power. It was premiered on Income-Tax Day. http://youtu.be/WxPPA9ZFvck Slide 4 Cowboy Ballet Copland wrote several ballets that were groundbreaking for their distinctly American musical styles and stories: Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. Rodeo (1942) is a story about a tom-boy cowgirl finding her place among the cowboys. The finale scene, Hoedown portrays a frontier dancing party with traditional fiddle hoedown music. It was used in the 90s for the Beef: its whats for dinner campaign. http://youtu.be/AKChyxd9MnM Slide 5 Painting the American Landscape Coplands ballet Appalachian Spring (1944) portrays a pioneer celebration in spring around a newly-build farm house and includes such characters as a new bride and groom and a preacher. It includes many hoedown and religious revival-like pieces, but only one actual folk song was used in it. Copland used an old, forgotten Shaker song that he found called Simple Gifts. Because of him, its now world-famous. Copland paints the feel of wide-open American fields with his use of slow-moving, open 5 th and octave harmonies. Slide 6 Slide 7 Simple Gifts Theme & Variation Aaron Copland uses a technique called Theme & Variation to repeat the folk song melody six times, differently each time. Theme: Played by a solo clarinet with simple open chords accompanying. Var. 1: Oboe & bassoon duet on melody, slightly faster. Var. 2: Low instruments play melody while higher instruments repeat like a round. Var. 3: Brass play melody twice as fast. Var. 4: Woodwinds play second part of melody slowly & gently. Var. 5: Full orchestra plays first part of melody loudly & majestically. Try to follow and identify each variation as you listen to them: http://youtu.be/w5EkDe0VHOs http://youtu.be/w5EkDe0VHOs