Program 2: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 1

Before 1900, there was no real American concert music. But only 20 years later, composers had begun to break the hold of European standards for art and were experimenting in earnest with ways to portray an American sound.

In this program, Michael Tilson Thomas reviews what American classical music was like at the turn of the 20th century, and asks what it was about the cultural melting pot of places like Brooklyn that led us beyond Beethoven and Brahms, to our very own concert music. Aaron Copland’s modernist compositions are front and center. Featured is a recorded rehearsal of Copland’s little-known piece for women’s chorus, “An Immorality,” where Michael demonstrates the raucous sounds the composer was striving for in his earlier works.

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Playlist

(If no performer is listed, piece performed by San Fransisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.)

Sammartini: Sinfonia in D
Angelicum Orchestra of Milan/Jenkins
(Nonesuch H-71162) (LP)

Copland: “Rodeo”
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

Copland: Piano Variations

Copland: Piano Variations

Copland: Dance Symphony
London Symphony Orchestra/Copland
(Sony SM2K 47232)

Dvorak: “American” String Quartet
Emerson String Quartet
(Deutsche Grammophon 445 551-2)

Trad. Spirtual: “Lord, I’m Out Here On Your Word”
Fisk Jubilee Singers
(Curb D2-78762)

Billings: “Chester”
William Appling Singers and Orchestra
(New World Records 9322-80539-2)

Heinrich: “The War of the Elements and the Thundering of Niagara”

Gottschalk: “The Banjo”
Cecile Licad
(Naxos 8.559145)

MacDowell: From “New England Idyls,””In Deep Woods”

Antheil: Ballet Mecanique
New Palais Royale Orchestra & Percussion Ensemble/Peress
(Music Masters 67094-2)

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
New World Symphony/Tilson Thomas
(RCA 9026-68788-2)

Copland: Dance Symphony
London Symphony Orchestra/Copland
(Sony SM2K 47232)

Israel Goldfarb: “Shalom Alechem”
Zamir Chorale of Boston/Jacobson
(HZ 915)

Trad.: “Yoshke”/”Der Rebbe Hort Gehessen”
Maxwell Street Klezmer Band
(Shanachie 67008)

W. C. Handy: St. Louis Blues
W. C. Handy’s Memphis Blues Band
(Memphis Archives MA 7006)

Copland: Dance Symphony
London Symphony Orchestra/Copland
(Sony SM2K 47232)

Copland: Passacaglia
Charles Fierro
(Delos D/CD 1013)

Copland: “An Immorality”
San Francisco Girls Chorus/Tilson Thomas

Copland: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

Milhaud: “The Creation of the World”
New World Symphony/Tilson Thomas
(RCA 9026-68788-2)

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
New World Symphony/Tilson Thomas
(RCA 9026-68788-2)

Varese: “Arcana”

Copland: Symphonic Ode
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

Copland: “Appalachian Spring”
(RCA 09026-63720-2)

Other episodes

Program 1: You Call That Music?!
Program 2: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 1
Program 3: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 2
Program 4: Igor Stravinsky’s Copyright Blues
Program 5: The Last Virtuoso
Program 6: Freud and the Ballet
Program 7: We Were Playing Boulez, But We Were Listening To James Brown!
Program 8: Five Degrees of Separation

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