Required Listening: Aaron Copland: The Music Of America

by Randy Murray on February 29, 2012

Even if you claim not to like orchestral music (and I believe that you probably do like it, even if you don’t know it), you know bits and pieces of Aaron Copland’s work.

It’s very difficult to avoid. Copland’s work has become a touchstone for film and television soundtracks. Copland wrote many himself, including one of the finest film soundtracks ever for The Red Pony.

Copland’s music helped define a majestic, epic sound that is uniquely American. It draws upon the roots of early American music and helped to create the mythology of the American West. It is big music, even when it’s quiet and melodic. It’s moving, intense, and exciting. And it can be heartbreakingly lovely.

I rate Copland second only to Dvorak in being able to raise goosebumps on my arms and a lump in my throat.

For an introduction to Copland, I strongly recommend Copland: The Music of America, a recording by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, led by Erich Kunzel. It includes the powerful Fanfare for the Common Man, the Rodeo Suite, Quiet City, Billy the Kid, and the matchless Appalachian Spring.

This is accessible, listenable classic music. It’s fun and enlightening. Even if you never listen to classic or orchestral music, when you listen to this you’ll be bound to say, at moments, “Hey, I’ve heard that!”

So hear more.

iTunes Link
Amazon Link: CD

More Required Listening

Required Listening: Aaron Copland: The Music Of America by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: