November 14, 2007

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Interesting little tidbit: today is the anniversary of the births of both Leopold Mozart (father of Wolfgang) in 1719 and Johann van Beethoven (father of Ludwig) in 1740.

It also happens to be the anniversary of the birth of Aaron Copland in 1900.


Copland represents the closest brush with musickal greatness I'm ever likely to have. My parents were active in the Symphony Society back in the San Antonio of my yoot and it happened to be their turn to host the reception when Copland came to town to guest-conduct. (This would have been some time in the late 70's.) By then, he was a cranky old man. He autographed a music book for me, albeit grudgingly, which I have long since lost. (On the other hand, I still treasure my autographed photo of the great cellist Leonard Rose, my second closest brush with musickal greatness. A completely different character, too. I also happen to have a book of Mozart's works for four hands, one piano autographed by Rudolph Firkusny, who also indulgently sight-read through a bit of one of them with me. Now there was a really nice guy.)

Frankly, while I recognize Copland's contribution to American music, I don't really much care for his compositions. The folk-tune stuff gets old, fast. And "Fanfare for the Common Man", with its over the top brass and percussion and its conscious egalitarianism, leaves me cold.

Posted by Robert at November 14, 2007 10:10 AM | TrackBack

Do you have the "Copland Conducts Copland" CD with Fanfare, App Spring, Rodeo, and Old American Songs? That's just about the best rendition of everything I like that he did all in one place.

I really do like the Appalachian Spring suite, but like you say, a little Copland goes a long way.

I didn't know you lived in San Antonio as a yoot. I consider SA my home town - mom still lives there - because dad retired from the USAF to SA and I went to HS there: Douglas MacArthur, class of '76.

Posted by: Hucbald at November 14, 2007 10:26 AM

Yip, Churchill class of '83. We were there because when the Army Medical Corp grabbed Dad in '68, they sent him to Fort Sam. It's been almost 20 years since I was last there, however.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at November 14, 2007 10:43 AM

Ack! My high school sweetheart went to Churchill. We were debate team rivals. LOL!

If you haven't been to SA in a couple of decades, you'd be shocked. When we moved there in 1972 there were 785K people, now there are over 2 million!

Loop 1604 used to be a farm road, now it is a six-lane divided highway with every chain restaurant known to man lining it and epic traffic jams.

I hate having to drive there now... which is why I live in a town with 6K folks in it.

Posted by: Hucbald at November 14, 2007 01:19 PM

I never tire of his big orchestral works: Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo. The Emerson Lake and Palmer version of Fanfare for the Common Man is what inspired me to take up keyboard as a teenager, leading to an incredible enrichment of the rest of my life to date, so I can't be objective about that one even though I don't much listen to it any more. ELP's version of Hoedown is entertaining.

Posted by: JohnL at November 14, 2007 03:32 PM