Posted by: rbbadger | June 16, 2012

Aaron Copland: A Portrait

Those of you who enjoy Aaron Copland’s music may enjoy this old documentary about Aaron Copland put out by the old United States Information Agency, now known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. 

While Aaron Copland’s best known works, at least by audiences, are those from his populist period, Copland was capable of writing heavily dissonant scores with the best of them.  His Symphony No. 1, originally written for organ and orchestra, was considered very modernistic back in the 1920s.  The conductor, Walter Damrosch, basically told the audience after the performance that “if a young man is capable of writing a symphony like this at age 23, in five years he’ll be capable of murder”. 

I’ve often found it interesting just how well Copland, a New York native, managed to convey the wide expanse of the American west so well in his work.  He was not only a New York native, but a Brooklyn native.  After completing his studies in Paris, he returned to New York.  Eventually, he moved to Cortlandt Manor, a small town an hour away from New York City.  His home in Cortlandt Manor is still used.  Copland House, the foundation which oversees the upkeep of Copland’s home, has residency programs where composers may spend three months living at Aaron Copland’s home and occupy themselves completely with composition.  You can see some photos of Copland’s home by clicking here.


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