Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I sure do like Copland!

On my way into work today I heard a Copland piece in it's entirety on the radio. There's not much 20th century so-called "classical" music that I can tolerate. Give me 20th century jazz, R&B, pop, rock, show tunes, dixieland, disco, anything over contemporary classical. Hmmpf! Classical? Not to my mind.

Ah, but Copland? Wonderful! He takes his time. He carefully builds and he gracefully recedes; 25 minutes that combine to make a whole piece. He blends and he separates. He's not afraid to be simple, and when he's complex he still makes sense. Enjoyable dissonance; dissonance that makes sense; that bright, straightforward, no-nonsense sound. I think I can see why he never wrote a cello concerto. I question whether it would have been accepted by the cellists of the time.

I can't remember who, but some famed musician of Copland's era said something like, "In Europe they clamor for more American music, but that's not what they mean. What they really mean is they want more COPLAND!"

I guess my taste is hopelessly unsophisticated. Yeah, even if I had talent, I could never be a classical musician; too simple-minded; too schmaltzy; too working-class. But in Copland we proletariat can find a 20th century composer for the common man.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I completely agree. What a gift he had for voicing the American spirit, in all of its complexity.