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Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man, Appalachian Spring Suite, Third Symphony
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
If you love Copland, this CD is for you!
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thank you for making it possible for me to find the music I wantPublished 17 months ago by Joanne Bergman
Fantastic recording. I love listening to this all the time. Simple as that. I cannot say this is better/worse than other recordings, as I have nothing to compare with in my... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Michael C.
For me Copeland is a musical genius. and his "Fanfare for the Conmon Man" is his stand-out signature piece. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Stephanie Sullivan
Like most RR recordings, the sound was very much audiophile quality. The performance on the other hand was nothing special. I found it lethargic. Try Davies with St. Luke.Published 22 months ago by Diver
I couldn't be happier with this CD. The quality of the CD is very good and the orchestration is the best I've heard of Appalachian Suite and Fanfare for the Common Man. Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by Bookbam
I wish everyone could hear this work full volume. But I'm afraid younger folks will never listen and will never appreciate Copland's 3rd Symphony. Too bad.Published on March 24, 2013 by Dennis P. Leger
My first Copland's listenings were from two great LP's featuring Leonard Bernstein and the NYPO playing El Salon Mexico, Rodeo, and Billy the Kid. Read morePublished on October 11, 2012 by Colloredo von Salzburg
I felt the music of truly "America" when listening to this suite. Copland captures the spirit of the heartland and the comman man in a most soothing way. Read morePublished on September 28, 2012 by VMB
Maybe it's just me since the other reviewers rate it so highly. I find the high end weak. The horns and cymbals just don't shimmer with life like I've heard on other recordings. Read morePublished on June 15, 2010 by Richard K. Seastrand