BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, John Wilson – Copland- Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 – Ballets (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:19:17 minutes | 1,38 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Chandos
That Aaron Copland’s ballet ” Hear Ye! Hear Ye!”(1934), could be due to the rather dry subject: a trial for murder in a nightclub. “Appalachian Spring” with its scenes from rural Pennsylvania is more tranquil. His music, which programmatically evokes a new simplicity, has made this ballet a success. In ” Hear Ye!”on the other hand, there is” big city music ” to be heard with a number of references to contemporary light music, especially swing.
Huster and background noises suggest that the recordings from Detroit are concert recordings — which could explain that ” Hear Ye!”not everything is running smoothly and minor inaccuracies have crept in. There is little to complain about Slatkin’s interpretations, in which the gestural quality of the music has great weight, although Bernstein has kindled even more visionary fire in the “Appalachian Spring”.
With this ballet in the ear, the edgy modernist of the “Short Symphony” or the “Symphony for Organ and Orchestra”, oriented to the style of the French group “Les Six”, sound quite unexpected. Together with other symphonic works from Copland’s early creative period, including the rarely heard “Symphonic Ode”, John Wilson and the BBC Philharmonic have recorded these symphonies breathtakingly effective, colourful and bursting with energy. Electrifying the complex rhythm of the “Ode”, for example, which is confidently realized by Wilson. But the sinistre tone of the “Prelude” from the organ symphony is also excellent. The musicians are supported by a formidable sound technique.
The British conductor John Wilson is a specialist in light music known for his renditions of, among other music, American film scores. You might think he’d be a natural for Copland, and so he may well be for non-American listeners. In fact, what you get here is a set of readings of Copland standards that are shorn of quite a few accretions of American tradition. It’s in the syncopations that you notice the differences most: their zip is tamped down, and in general the broad popular gestures of the music are deemphasized. The result is angular, rather Stravinskian Copland that has been thought out anew. More broadly, there is an effort made not to settle into and luxuriate in the big tunes that for many listeners define the Copland experience. It all makes sense on its own terms, and Copland himself saw a unity among the various phases of his career rather than dividing it into accessible and stylistically progressive aspects. Sample El Saln Mxico (track two) for a fair representation of Wilson’s approach, and also for the generally strong orchestral work and the crackling MediaCityUK studio sound from Chandos, a major attraction in itself. This is offbeat rather than mainstream Copland, but (therefore) of considerable interest.
1. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – Fanfare for the Common Man
2. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – El salon Mexico
3. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – I. Introduction: The Open Prairie
4. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – II. Street in a Frontier Town
5. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – III. Mexican Dance and Finale
6. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – IV. Prairie Night: Card Game at Night
7. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – V. Gun Battle
8. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – VI. Celebration: After Billy’s Capture
9. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – VII. Billy’s Death
10. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – VIII. The Open Prairie again
11. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – I. Very Slowly
12. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – II. Allegro
13. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – III. Moderato
14. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – IV. Fast
15. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – V. Allegro –
16. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – V. Meno Mosso
17. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – VI. As at first (slowly) – VII. Doppio movimento – VIII. Moderato
18. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo: I. Buckaroo Holiday
19. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo: II. Corral Nocturne
20. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo: III. Saturday Night Waltz
21. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo: IV. Hoe Down