Monday, 4 July 2011

In Honor of The "American Sound"

What forms the American musical ethos?

Hint: It has nothing to do with Rebecca Black's "Friday". May good American music have nothing to do with
Wikipedia, I ask you this: Must "Americana Music" be synonymous with "Country Music"? 

What makes the music of Aaron Copland sound so distinctively "American"?

Again, what is the "American" sound?
Brass? Why so much brass?

Sometimes Wikipedia is helpful: ...Don't kill me.

"The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his [Copland's] works are archetypical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. ~*cough*courtesy of wikipedia*cough* 

Do you want to witness the vast American landscape? Try road-tripping across America. 
In fact, why not do it twice? 
You might appreciate Copland more if you do. ;-) 
You'll also appreciate fresh vegetables more than you ever thought you would. 
(But don't try to drive through Texas and New Mexico in one day. Bad, bad, bad idea. Never again.)


 In honor of today:
(please excuse the Space images.  I picked this recording because the of the sound quality. However, watch this video if you have time. James Levine! His epic conducting face.) 
Fanfare for the Common Man
(Composed by Aaron Copland)

Apparently this piece was inspired by a speech about "The Century of the Common Man" given by former vice president Henry A. Wallace. You can read the excerpt here if you are interested. I especially suggest it to all you Johnson House Sophomores. Yet whether or not you agree with his arguments, please, please spend some time listening to Aaron Copland's music. :D

In fact, go out and buy a CD that includes his Appalachian Spring*. Wake up early in the morning, pour yourself a cup of tea (toaster waffles are suggested, too), and listen to the entirety of this piece.

(*It's funny that Copland did not write this ballet/piece with the title in mind. In fact, the title came after the piece was composed. However it's hard not to think of Spring (the season) or springs (water) when listening to the piece. Why? Maybe the power of suggestion is too strong. Hmm.)

when you need a pick me up in your day, skip the drink and instead listen to Leonard Bernstein's Overture to Candide.
Oh, why not watch it now?

Conducted by the Bernstein himself!
(Fine, fine. Have the drink, too.)

1 comment:

  1. Man, this post made me really miss living with music majors. Great read/listen!