San Francisco Symphony considers lesser-known side of Aaron Copland

Posted on: April 14, 2016

“When Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic visited ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ last month, it was only natural that they performed Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ (1942),” writes William Robin in Wednesday’s (4/13) New York Times. “But when Copland’s music graced a CBS broadcast a half-century ago … the composer provided his first 12-tone piece for orchestra … ‘Connotations.’ … Both the orchestra and the network were subsequently inundated with letters from viewers…. What caused Copland’s shift from populist to abstruse? … The question will be raised once more on Wednesday, when Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall in a triptych of Copland’s thornier works: the Piano Concerto (1926); the Orchestral Variations (1957) … and the serial ‘Inscape’ (1967), Copland’s last major piece.… Copland first began exploring 12-tone writing in 1950, in the shadow of Cold War paranoia.… [He] wrote only a handful of short works in the more than two decades between ‘Inscape’ and his death in 1990.” Said Copland in 1967, “So many concertgoers want to be lulled. But we composers want to stir people up.”

Posted April 14, 2016