Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Copland did not compose an extensive repertory of choral music but this is a pleasant sampling which includes the then-premier recordings of Four Motets and Canticle of Freedom composed in 1921 and 1955 respectively.

The more widely-known Old American Songs was originally assembled by Copland for voice and piano and later set for voice and orchestra by the composer. The choral version of Old American Songs was arranged by Irving Fine, Raymond Wilding-White, and Glenn Koponen.

Michael Tilson Thomas has long been an able interpreter of Aaron Copland's works and, in fact, was hand-selected by the composer himself to conduct the chorus for these recordings. Copland had originally planned to handle the conducting chores himself but was too ill to participate.

Background information on this recording can be found in the scanned liner notes contained in the download. For a history and analysis of these compositions, see the comments.

Old American Songs, Set I (1950)
1. The Boatmen's Dance 3:03
2. The Dodger 2:05
3. Long Time Ago 3:10
4. Simple Gifts 1:21
5. I Bought Me A Cat 2:12

Old American Songs, Set II (1952)
6. The Little Horses 3:11
7. Zion's Walls 1:44
8. The Golden Willow Tree 3:20
9. At The River 2:43
10. Ching-A-Ring Chaw 1:33

11. Canticle Of Freedom (1955) 13:46

Four Motets (1921)
12. Help Us, O Lord 2:50
13. Thou, O Jehovah, Abideth Forever 2:29
14. Have Mercy On Us, O My Lord 4:11
15. Sing Ye Praises To Our King 1:41

Recorded in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah in 1986.