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  • Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man, Appalachian Spring Suite, Third Symphony
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Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man, Appalachian Spring Suite, Third Symphony

18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 15, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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This release--part of a wave that will soon grow tidal in honor of the 100th anniversary of Aaron Copland in 2000--doesn't exactly rewrite the map on America's beloved composer. It collects three of his most familiar works created during (and, in varying degrees, reacting to) his country's experience of World War II: the version of "Appalachian Spring" for orchestral suite, the "Fanfare for the Common Man," and the Third Symphony (which incorporates the fanfare in its final movement and, as Copland himself wrote, reflects the "euphoric spirit of the country" following the war's conclusion). But the charismatic Eiji Oue proves to have a convincing and sensitive connection to these works.

A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, Oue was bequeathed the baton used by Bernstein in his final concert--the musical equivalent of a laying on of hands--and he opts to bring out a similar kind of multilayered American Romanticism, mixing transcendentalist vision with sinewy, driving vitality. The range of color and deep focus Oue elicits from the Minnesota Orchestra give yet another example of how the old "tier" hierarchy of American orchestras is eroding; there are excellent, tender wind solos, nicely balanced bodies of strings, and pulse-raising brass, especially in the Third. Oue finds a way to make the transitions between tempos and sections breathe effectively (above all when the music shifts to a faster gear), and his fine ear does justice to the vertical density of Copland's sound--as does the justly acclaimed Reference Recording range of clarity. While Oue doesn't really break any new interpretive ground (his Third feels too close in overall concept to Bernstein's own canonical recording--down to following the cut of several measures of triumphant D major on the score's final page), the glory of that ear-delighting dynamic range and subtlety is a definite advantage for audiophiles. --Thomas May


1. Fanfare For The Common Man
2. Appalachian Spring Suite
3. Third Symphony: molto moderato
4. Third Symphony: allegro molto
5. Third Symphony: andantino quasi allegretto
6. Third Symphony: molto deliberato

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Minnesota Orchestra
  • Conductor: Eiji Oue
  • Composer: Aaron Copland
  • Audio CD (August 15, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reference Recordings
  • ASIN: B00004UDEQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,526 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Sobotta on December 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I would probably have to say so. My old fave used to be Bernstein's '86 version, but the ensemble overall is more together in this recording than Lenny's. Besides, Minnesota's strings sound better than virtually any other American orchestra today--particularly the basses (although I may be a bit biased--I study with one of them). Since I've seen them perform the 3rd twice, I can honestly say you would have to strain to hear a difference between listening to the CD and sitting in Orchestra Hall. In addition, despite it probably being a commercially-driven move, having Copland's 3 most well-known works all in one spot isn't too bad. Own this recording!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John on August 15, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I had the extreme pleasure of being under the conduction of Eiji Oue a few years ago for several concerts and rehearsals throughout the country. He is an inspiring individual both in his musical abilities and personal character and his ability to hear the smallest details of the music was amazing. He is by far the most extraordinary conductor I have ever worked with and no music collection is complete until it contains some of his works. I just can't say enough good things about him.

His interpretations of these Copland works is equally impressive as he brings out the little nuances of the music and accentuates the high points. His recordings are not to be missed and this one is no exception. The Third Symphony is first-rate in every way. This cd will become a treasured part of your collection for years to come and the HDCD format makes the performances that much more lifelike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Raul Galarza on July 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
From the beginning, this CD has been recorded with superb quality for its reproduction. (It is 24 Bit HDCD)
The interpretations, performed in this case by Mr. Oue conducting the Minnesota Orchestra, are far more than outstanding!
It seems that sometimes a group of people (in this case conductor and orchestra) get tuned, all at the same time, in a unique mood to perform a work in the best way possible, and this is exactly what you get from this CD.
It would seem that the works were composed and awaited for this particular interpretation and I really think that anyone who tries to find out another that surpasses this one, then will have a very tough job to do.
Getting things simplier, get this one and you will enjoy it forever. The sound, besides being HDCD, has no less of the standard quality of any from Reference Recordings.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
How could a recording of Copland music done by the Minnesota Orchestra be any better? Get Eiji Oue to direct the orchestra, that's how. Copland doesn't get any better than this... except maybe live on Minnesota Public Radio! Breath in the breath of American music at it's best... did I mention that the Minnesota Orchestra is the best of the best? Did I need to... Happy Birthday to us all!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This recording is phenomenal! It starts with Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man." It can only be described as earth-shaking. The bass drum hits will knock you off your chair. It ends with Copland's "Third Symphony," which is a triumph. The Minnesota Orchestra played wonderfully and the recording by Reference Recordings/Keith O. Johnson is beyond compare.
If you love Copland, this CD is for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 27, 2013
Format: Audio CD
I have already devoured and eulogised Eiji Oue's other recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra in spectacular 24 bit sound and this one is another hit. Oue has conducted at Bayreuth but why he has not yet been appointed to head a major world orchestra mystifies me, as he is clearly a major talent, full of energy and with an acute ear for orchestral detail.

This compilation offers 72 minutes of the best of Copland's music and it's like a tour of the Grand Canyon with its sense of Wide Open Spaces, the insistent, ostinato rhythms and the boundless, yee-haw optimism of its leaping melodic intervals. Yet Oue also captures sensitively the moments of melancholy, mystery and reflection. It's a great game for the listener to recognise and tick off the seminal American folk tunes incorporated into "Appalachian Spring" and the orchestra play this music with huge dedication and affection, as if they, too, love it and what it represents to patriotic Americans.

The more unusual item here is the Third Symphony, more obviously "modern" than the popular preceding works and sometimes reminiscent of Strauss when its massive sonorities are played so lusciously. The sheer drive of this performance makes the best possible case for music which sometimes veers into near-caricature of Copland's predominant style but is also often - strangely, given Copland's very American sound - redolent of Vaughan Williams and Elgar as well as Strauss. Perhaps this is hardly surprising given their mutual admiration of the latter two composers and the fact that works by Elgar such as his "Alassio - in the South" can frequently sound like a Strauss tone poem. This recording of Copland's Third has claims to being the best account of this symphony out there; it is certainly in the best sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Kline PhD, MD on March 15, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This HDCD begins with Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. It's very good. You will never hear the bass drum recorded any better. Telarc always had a mean bass drum, but Reference Recordings outdoes Telarc hands down. I was disappointed, however, that the brass wasn't given the same prominence. Both are essential to convey the serious impact the Fanfare can provide.

The Appalachian Spring Suite fared better with more sharply etched sound but still running third to the excitement of Bernstein and the NY Phil (Kunzel and his Cincinnati forces takes second place). Reference Recordings will usually blow the competition away in terms of sound but doesn't often take the prize for performance. I think the issue is Oue as the orchestra plays beautifully as is usually the case. In the big finale in Appalachian Spring both come alive. Otherwise, this is more a relaxed interpretation. You just don't feel the intensity. Lennie was usually just short of over the top, in contrast.

The 3rd Symphony has never been a big favorite of mine. Copland was at his compositional best in the ballet scores. The rest, except the Fanfare, has never been that musically interesting.

A fine recording with superb sound. But it doesn't change the Number 1 status of Bernstein's account, even with the dated sound on Lennie's disc. If you want both superb sound AND more excitement, try Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops's album. It's bass drum and other percussion rivals that of Minnesota, their brass is perfect, and the recording is almost as stellar. As for Oue, it's just a fine recording. No need to run out and buy it.
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Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man, Appalachian Spring Suite, Third Symphony
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