Demonstration quality Copland

Erich Kunzel , Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Audio CD

You no doubt have several Copland CDs but this one goes to the top of my collection.
The performances are most satisfying and the sonics are of demonstration quality.


Any more information than that? Searching Presto’s website for “Copland Kunzel Cincinnati Pops” yields several results.

I’ve the above CD, which sounds more than satisfactory. My bias for Aaron Copland may get in the way as I enjoy Copland and can tolerate a few sonic and performance warts here and there.


I also enjoy the above, as well as the Columbia Bernstein’s listed below.

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Why would you go beyond Copland himself and the Columbia Orchestra? Three of these were dance pieces commissioned by Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille and someone else, requiring a sparse sound on a sparse budget, so Bernstein throwing the kitchen sink at it does not do it for me.

I still find it bizarre that my not old wife (still has her own natural brown hair) did class with Martha Graham, who was born in the 19th century. MG was born 62 years after Beethoven died. The link, and there always is one for @Rushton, is that MG’s last of her 180 ballets was to the tunes of Scott Joplin, who was brought back from the dead by Joshua Rifkin.

Yes, Rifkin did a marvelous service for Scott Joplin’s music. :+1:

As to Copland conducting Copland, I’m a fan.

This said, my wife has a fondness for Bernstein conducting Copland, and over the years she has begun to sway me. :roll_eyes:

I am also a fan of this limited ensemble performance of the originally scored Appalachian Spring as used by Martha Graham in her ballet performances. It is a sonic eye-opener to hear this smaller scoring version, imo.

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I always thought the Bernstein performances (while admittedly well done) were a little too bombastic.

That has always been my opinion, too, @tony22. But, my listening partner says not to short her on her preferences! Need peace in the listening room. :sunglasses:

There are two recordings on YouTube with Martha Graham in them, the later one from 1958 is a full performance with original set and original score.

After a period in Mexico finding himself, Copland came back and composed about America. It’s big, not much in it, very airy, optimistic, happy, and the odd horse or gunfighter. Fanfare was also a simple theme about the American Dream.

This article has some great views about modern music (he won a Pulitzer for Appalachian Spring) and has a most brilliantly enlightening recording of his rehearsal before the 1973 recording I referred to. He is so clear in the reasons for what he wants so it becomes quite easy for the orchestra. There is a lovely comment at 5:30 where he says “not so sentimental … Miss Graham is dancing”, which is self-explanatory, sentimental not being in her vocabulary. He demands they remain American, “cool”, controlled emotions, not to lapse into Massenet or Tchaikovsky.

The Pulitzer Prizes.


This Rodeo performance was always a sonic standard to me:

I think it is now available on a Vox CD collection. The recording process was documented on the original album and really seemed to be ahead of its time in 1967.


This is my go-to Copeland album. I contains my favorite composition of his which is the Our Town film score and it was conducted by the man himself.

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This is the one you need. Chamber orchestra version direct-to-disk.


Thanks for this but can’t quite read the name of the artist.

I’ve owned that LP for many years. It’s great. A friend bought one at the same time but left it in a too-warm car one summer day and it warped. :broken_heart:

Maybe you will find this helpful. Recommended BTW.

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This is also a fine recording.

That’s just link I needed, thanks.

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The first four have a soundstage which even in a near field setup reaches beyond the room’s side walls.
The last has a depth reaching more than a dozen feet beyond the front wall. All could make it on a soundstage sampler.