In perspective: Copland and America in the 20th century

Posted on: July 9, 2019

“There are many Americas. Nowadays they barely speak to each other,” reports Sara Fishko on Wednesday (7/3) at National Public Radio. “But during the most perilous years of the last century, one young composer went in search of a sound that melded many of the nation’s strains into something singular and new. He was a man of the left, though of no political party: gay, but neither closeted nor out; Jewish, but agnostic, unless you count music as a religion. His name was Aaron Copland…. Copland reached the height of his artistry and fame during the most desperate times in 20th-century America, the era of the Great Depression and the years of World War II…. He first thought about creating music that sounded uniquely American only after he had left America, Brooklyn, to be exact, for Europe in 1921.” The audio segment includes sound clips of Copland, President Franklin Roosevelt, and Alan Lomax, the collector of Anglo-American and African-American folk music; and commentary from composer John Corigliano; Judith Tick, co-author of Aaron Copland’s America; musicologist Paula Musegades; historians Sam Tanenhaus and Jon Wiener; and Thomas Doherty, author of Projections of War.

Posted July 9, 2019