Contemplated was ripping/posting only those selections composed by Copland: in the interest of completeness and to preserve the integrity of these discs, I have opted against this. Instead, I have decided to proceed and disregard the percieved problem, ignoring the fact that this "Copland" blog will sometimes present music that is "related" to Copland's, but not actually his.
By the way, this post was provided by my friend Miguel (thank you Miguel!), who is a visitor to this blog and has generously decided to contribute this excellent CD (and there are more to come!). You can find his original links in the comments section. Scoredaddy
RCA's welcome release of late-40's monaural recordings entitled "Leonard Bernstein: The Early Years" offers proof, if such were needed, that the great American conductor had the knack way back then. It also recalls his difficulty in deciding which of his talents to pursue.
As it happens, his performance of Copland's Piano Sonata is the most impressive of the four, masterfully embracing the craggy declamation of the outer movements and the jazz influence of the middle one.
Bernstein's New York Philharmonic stereo recordings of "Billy the Kid" and dances from "On the Town" on CBS remain preferable overall, but the conductor's admirers will want these striking efforts and the modest piano pieces "Seven Anniversaries" for their documentary value. RCA's 78-r.p.m. transfers are vivid and the surfaces quiet. SEDGWICK CLARK
These early Bernstein recordings are true treasures. In terms of time, the relatively short elapsed interval (sixty years or four generations) is nothing compared with the fruits of time. But they are essential documents that reveal an astonishing talent playing and conducting the score of one of the most heavy-weigh champions in the American musical landscape.
The figure of the internationally acclaimed director Leonard Bernstein will be inseparable of Aaron Copland. A close friend, and a successful conjunction of affinities, made possible that every time you listen Bernstein playing Copland you can identify rapidly without blinking. It is not a simple matter of orchestral technique; it goes far beyond. It' s a special taste an interwoven texture, an immediate rapport that it' s hard to visualize with a glimpse and even an intense analysis of his works.
Bernstein had that humor sense, that gentle rapture, stable smell, that melancholic vision of the Wild West, as the main inspiration source of a true American Mythology. So more than just conduct Bernstein describes us visually those far landscapes, the sordid gunfighters. Then listen carefully, his West pictures at exhibition in Billy the Kid, for instance and compare by yourself with any other performance. The RCA certainly lacked of the brightness of the New York Philharmonic, and nevertheless it's a vivifying and electrifying portrait.
Copland's Piano Sonata has always been neglected by most of pianists in the world. It' s underrated . I love this Sonata since I listened for the first time in the 70's. The unforgettable William Kapell was also an affectionate friend of Copland and played it.
Leonard Bernstein was also a promissory pianist and you may be kindly surprised with this notable and alluring performance, recorded January 22, 1947 when Bernstein was still in his late twenties (29). The second half of the album we have Bernstein playing his own music. The flame of the genius could be watched in these superb and invaluable recordings. Go and try to get as soon as possible for this album. More than a simple recording, it' s a national treasure. The transfer to tape was simply glorious. Hiram Gomez Pardo
Copland: Billy The Kid-Ballet Suite (1938)
1. Prelude: The Open Prairie
2. Street In A Frontier Town
4. Card Game
5. The Fight
6. Celebration Dance
Recorded June 12 & 23, 1949
Copland: Piano Sonata (1939-41)
8. Molto Moderato; Piu Largamente -
10. Andante Sostenuto
Leonard Bernstein, piano
Recorded January 22, 1947
Bernstein: Seven Anniversaries (1943)
11. For Aaron Copland
12. For My Sister, Shirley
13. In Memoriam: Alfred Eisner
14. For Paul Bowles
15. In Memoriam: Nathalie Koussevitzky
16. For Serge Koussevitzky
17. For Willam Schuman
Leonard Bernstein, piano
Recorded September 17, 1947
Bernstein: On The Town-Dances (1944)
18. Pas De Deux: Lonely Town
19. Act I Finale: Times Square
20. The Subway
21. Gabey, The Great Lover
22. Pas De Deux: Ivy & Gabey
Leonard Bernstein conducting the 'On The Town' Orchestra
Recorded February 3, 1945