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Copland: Billy the Kid / Rodeo

Aaron Copland , Leonard Slatkin , St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
  • Composer: Aaron Copland
  • Audio CD (March 14, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Angel Records / EMI
  • ASIN: B000002RO5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,701 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Copland: Billy The Kid (Complete Ballet)
2. Copland: Rodeo: Buckaroo Holiday
3. Copland: Rodeo: Corral Nocturne
4. Copland: Rodeo: Piano Interlude & Saturday Night Waltz
5. Copland: Rodeo: Hoe-Down

Editorial Reviews

Leonard Slatkin, who has done such outstanding service for American music, upholds the Copland tradition with potent, sympathetically argued accounts of the big ballets. The performances by the Saint Louis Symphony could hardly be bettered, and the recordings stand out for their solid sound as well. Slatkin does both Billy the Kid and Rodeo in full, restoring some delightful music in both scores that is missed when only the suites are presented. In Rodeo, for example, it comes as a delicious surprise to hear the Saloon-piano interlude before the "Saturday Night Waltz"--and Slatkin insists on an out-of-tune upright--just the right touch. These are idiomatic, persuasive accounts, thrilling in their buildups and potent in their climaxes. Even Appalachian Spring is done in full, though in its version for full orchestra. The treatment here is gentle, and while Slatkin generates less voltage than Bernstein, his reading has nobility and an engaging warmth. The recordings were made at a rather low level, but have a wonderful ambience and extraordinary dynamic range. Unfortunately, the individual scenes of both Billy the Kid and Appalachian Spring are not separately banded. --Ted Libbey

Product Description


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way Out West August 15, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I respectfully disagree with the previous reviewer regarding conductor Leonard Slatkin's recordings of Copland's two Old West ballets in their complete form. Slatkin and his great St. Louis Symphony bring out Copland's vivid impressions of frontier life in these incredible 1985 recordings which don't sound dated any more than Bernstein's 1960s recordings of the suites.
It is refreshing to hear the honky-tonk piano that serves as a pre-amble to "Rodeo"'s famous "Saturday Night Waltz" (itself derived from the old western ballad "Old Paint"); and the little additions to the celebrated "Hoe-Down" that concludes the CD. The complete "Billy The Kid" score, though not bracketed by section, is equally stunning and brilliantly performed.
In listening to this music, it is easy to see how they served as the model for many a western film score in the future. Composers such as Jerome Moross (THE BIG COUNTRY), John Williams (THE COWBOYS), Jerry Goldsmith (HOUR OF THE GUN), Jerry Fielding (THE WILD BUNCH; LAWMAN), Bruce Broughton (SILVERADO; TOMBSTONE), and especially Elmer Bernstein (THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN), owe a great debt to Copland for having developed this form of musical Americana. Slatkin and his orchestra demonstrate why that is so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slatkin's Rodeo January 19, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Aaron Copland

Leonard Slatkin
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

- Billy The Kid
- Rodeo

(EMI - DDD - 1986 CD)

Slatkin's Billy the Kid is very good but I perfer Copland's own version from the "Copland conducts Copland" album. However, Slatkin's version of Rodeo is excellent and it is the main reason for buying this CD. Five Stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sterling February 7, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It is great to hear the complete scores of these two ballets. There is little doubt that Copland knew what he was doing when he prepared the two suties from these ballets, but all the music is good and there is much to be said for hearing the greatest hits from these two scores in their proper proportions. The 1985 sound engineering on this disc is almost demonstration quality. The producer was the excellent, lamented Joanna Nickrenz (whose daughter is the pianist of the Eroica Trio). A then state of the art JVC digital recorder was used, and microphoning seems to have been kept to a minimum. The result is beautifully balanced sound, with a terrific dynamic range. The sound does great justice to Slatkin's interpretations. He has a wonderful sense of the French quality of these scores in the spareness of their orchestrations and the elegance of the melodic writing. Those accustomed to Bernstein's high voltage performances may find Slatkin somewhat subdued. Nevertheless, Slatkin's take on this music really grows on you, and I think it is the best approach for repeated listening. The playing of the St. Louis Symphony, as an ensemble and by the first chairs, is simply outstanding. If there are essential Copland recordings, this CD is one of them.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A best-seller but not a great performance November 1, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I suppose I should begrudge this widely admired CD a fourth star. It appeared at the height of the media's enthusiasm for Slatkin as "the next great American condcutor" during the mid-Eighties. In fact, Slatkin's career was at its zenith already, and so was his talent. Here, in music all but patented and copyrighted by Leonard Bernstein, Slatkin turns whiskey to water. His approach is cautious by Bernstein's zesty standards, his dance rhythms achingly square. (If you want the complete Billy the Kid from a ballet master, try the 1953 mono recording under Joseph Levine, also on EMI.)

For some reason The Gramophone latched on to this CD as a first choice. If they won't tell us about Copland, I promise not to tell them about Elgar.
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