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Second Sight - Music with Wilfrid Mellers

1. Copland's centenary

 

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Copland is the quintessential composer of New York City: a Jewish Outsider who did more than anyone to define in music what it's like to live in a big, brash, industrial city, wherein loneliness may be paradoxically a part of our social awareness. ('Sat me down on a hot, hard, cold-frozen stone; ten thousand around me and I was alone', as the American folk song puts it). In an often-quoted autobiographical note Copland tells us that 'I was born on November 14, 1900, on a street in Brooklyn that can only be described as drab. It had none of the garish colour of the ghetto, none of the charm of an old New England thoroughfare, or even a pioneer street ... I mention it because it was where I spent the first twenty years of my life. It fills me with mild wonder every time I realise that a musician was born on that street. Music was the last thing anyone would have connected with that street. In fact, no one ever had connected music with my street. The idea was entirely original with me'.

In his early works Copland, while living in Paris, discovered startlingly precise sound-images for this aboriginal state: as is already manifest in the spare, sinewy, linear Movement for string quartet which is the earliest piece, dating from 1923, on this CD.

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Copyright © 22 July 2000 Wilfrid Mellers, York, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - ASV CD DCA 1081

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