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

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 15, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

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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

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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 (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,815 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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For me Copeland is a musical genius. and his "Fanfare for the Conmon Man" is his stand-out signature piece. It has been used in many contexts and many other composers have created variations that point blatantly to the inspiring source.If this was all he wrote it would be amazing. Like the Ronco Ads (for those old enoug): "wait! There's more"

The Appalachian Spring Suite, and the Third Symphony are equally deserving works. With Fanfare are the representative big three.

The Eiji Oue performance with the Minnesota Orchestra in this 100 year tribute to Copeland is technically very fine, but could be more nuanced and inspiring. But I mean that as a very small criticism - the performance is fine but I'm glad I have this recording to enjoy.

The technical sound quality is excellent as others have noted. For someone who is looking for a good presentation of the Copeland big three I think this performance is a good choice.

Since it fully met my expectations I am giving this 100 year Copeland celebration 5 stars.
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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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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 library of CDs. But if you like Copeland, and you like the titles on this disc, then you will not be disappointed by the Minnesota Orchestra! You will not regret buying this CD.
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