Chapter 21: Alternatives to Modernism Aaron Copland

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Text of Chapter 21: Alternatives to Modernism Aaron Copland

  • Slide 1
  • Chapter 21: Alternatives to Modernism Aaron Copland
  • Slide 2
  • Key Terms Neoclassicism Nationalism Ballet Square dance Hymn Theme and variations
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  • Aaron Copland The leading U.S. composer 1925-1950 Roaring 20s encouraged modernism Favorable climate for new European ideas Many Americans lived abroad Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, etc. Stravinskys Neoclassical style influenced several generations of U.S. composers Copland began a full-fledged modernist His Piano Variations (1930) uses dissonant harmonies & Stravinsky-like rhythms But his music soon grew more traditional
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  • Music for Americans Copland adopted a nationalist agenda Used American music of all kinds, regions, & ages Jazz Music for the Theater, Clarinet Concerto Cowboy songs Rodeo, Billy the Kid A Shaker hymn Appalachian Spring Square dancing The Tender Land, Rodeo Old hymns 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson Wrote music that is recognizably American
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  • Aaron Copland (1900-1990) Son of immigrants in Brooklyn Began musical studies in New York In 1920s studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris Once home he promoted American music Copland-Sessions concerts, books, articles Attracted by idea that art serve the people Turned to folk materials in the 1930s Works celebrate traditional American values Lincoln Portrait, Fanfare for the Common Man Late works a bit more modernist again
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  • Copland, Appalachian Spring One of Coplands most famous works Ballet score choreographed & danced by Martha Graham a pioneer celebration in spring around a newly built farmhouse in the Pennsylvania hills in the first part of the last century Distinctive, wide-open American sound Evokes a square dance, quotes a Shaker hymn Copland arranged a concert suite for full orchestra in six continuous sections
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  • Appalachian Spring, Section 1 Opens with still, clear, static passage Evokes stillness of dawn & spaciousness of a vast landscape Simple, meditative motives in counterpoint juxtapose A & E triads Motives alternate with slow, lyric melody An occasional solemn pulse in the harp
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  • Appalachian Spring, Section 2 (1) The bride-to-be and the young farmer husband enact the emotions, joyful and apprehensive, their new domestic partnership invited Starts with lively hoedown theme Mixed with Section 1 arpeggio motives Slower, arching, hymnlike melody looms Used in counterpoint with dance figures
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  • Appalachian Spring, Section 2 (2) Stravinsky-like rhythms take over dance Ends with slow, prayerful version of hymn And a few last dance fragments
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  • Appalachian Spring, Section 5 (1) A set of four variations on Simple Gifts A Shaker hymn Tis the gift to be simple
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  • Appalachian Spring, Section 5 (2) Copland doesnt vary the tune itself Variations present the tune using different instruments, keys, tempos, & accompaniments Imitation & busy background tapestry in Variation 2 Lively contrapuntal texture in Variation 3 Climactic Variation 4 is one of Coplands most famous sound bites
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  • Appalachian Spring, Section 6 Starts slowly with simple lyric theme like a prayer according to the program Copland said it should sound like a church organ Repeats several times in varied versions Arching hymn from Section 2 returns Ends with simple motives from Section 1 Concludes very softly Music evokes the many still dawns this pioneer couple will face in the years to come