COPLAND – Orchestral Works, Volumes 1 & 2 with John Wilson
AARON COPLAND: Orchestral Works, Volume 1
Fanfare for the Common Man, El Salon Mexico, Suite from Billy the Kid, Suite from Appalachian Spring, Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo
BBC Philharmonic and John Wilson
Chandos SACD 5164 @£11*
Orchestral Choice, BBC Music Magazine, March 2016 “I can’t remember any previous single-disc issue of Copland’s orchestral music as stuffed full of popular favourites as this one. The performances are superb.
The best news is that this is announced as the first volume in a series. So there should be more in this thrilling vein to look forward to – and another time it’s likely to lead listeners a bit further off the beaten track.”
The Sunday Times, CD of the Week, 17 January 2016 “Wilson is in his element here, coaxing razzmatazzy playing from the BBC Philharmonic in the rhythmically charged Mexican Dance and battle scene from Billy the Kid, and the Buckaroo Holiday and Hoe-Down from Rodeo. There is tenderness, too, even a touch of Leonard Bernsteinesque wallowing in the unforgettable folksy melodies of Appalachian Spring, culminating in the variants on Simple Gifts – Lord of the Dance to listeners this side of the pond.
The disc opens with the most famous Copland piece of all : Fanfare for the Common Man, showcasing the orchestra’s brass and percussion sections in spectacular sound.” .
Aaron COPLAND Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, Symphonic Ode, Short Symphony (Symphony No. 2), Orchestral Variations
Jonathan Scott (organ), BBC Philharmonic, John Wilson
Chandos SACD CHSA5171 @ £12.25*
BBC Music Magazine, Orchestral Choice (Nov 2016) “Incredible Copland. Anthony Burton welcomes John Wilson’s ‘outstanding’ performances. Unmissable. John Wilson’s first Copland with the BBC Philharmonic was of popular ballet scores, but this one explores the more serious side of the composer’s output. The performances are outstanding. The Organ Symphony was recorded in the generous acoustic of the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.”
Following a highly successful recording of Copland’s ballet music, John Wilson, a specialist in American music, and the BBC Philharmonic present the first volume of the composer’s complete symphonic output.
This unique collection of vivid and energetic pieces highlights Copland’s personal, unorthodox compositional language. The mixture of works of austerity and tense excitement ranges widely, from the twenty Orchestral Variations on an original theme (originally written for piano) to the single-movement controversial Symphonic Ode, a rhythmically complex piece written in its original incarnation for a huge orchestra including eight horns and five trumpets.
The album features also the lesser-known Short Symphony (No. 2) and early Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, in which the solo instrument throughout is closely integrated with the music of the orchestra.
Chandos SACD CHSA5171 @£12.25*
For this new series, the conductor, arranger, and light music specialist John Wilson, a BBC Proms favourite, for the first time joins the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos, in orchestral works by Aaron Copland. This first volume features the suites from the American composer’s most famous ballets. Written in 1938, the hugely successful Billy the Kid is a fine illustration of the limpid orchestration and clarity that Copland achieved in works made famous thanks to their popular accessibility. Similarly, four years later, in Appalachian Spring, he created a lastingly influential American soundworld, firmly rooted in the diatonicism of simple folk melodies. A third ‘nationalist’ ballet, Rodeo, and Fanfare for the Common Man were composed in the same year, 1942, the latter being possibly the most instantly recognizable piece in the history of American orchestral music. This album was recorded two months after a highly successful concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 3