Aaron Copland

Howard Pollack, Author Henry Holt & Company $37.5 (702p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4909-1
In this exhaustive study, Pollack (Walter Piston) offers a compelling look at a composer whose output included much more than the ballet scores so familiar to the general public, such as Billy the Kid, Rodeo and Appalachian Spring. Copland (1900-1990) wrote music for opera, ballet, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble, band, radio and film, while making important contributions as a music critic, teacher and conductor. Pollack follows Copland's development from the early pieces written when Copland was a student of Nadia Boulanger in Paris to his later 12-tone scores that alienated the public and many critics. He discusses the music that influenced Copland and examines his most important works, arguing that his compositions are distinctly American. Interspersed with analyses of Copland's music are discussions of his personality (he was typically characterized by friends and colleagues as warm and charming), his homosexual relationships and his lifelong social consciousness, which made him a tireless promoter of young composers and also led to his involvement in radical politics and hard times during the McCarthy era. Pollack captures the spirit of Copland's music in words, as when he compares the 1926 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra to a ""mobile"" in which ""separate but related ideas appear and reappear in various combinations."" (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 728 pages - 978-0-252-06900-0
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