Michael Tilson Thomas and his stunning San Francisco band champion ‘Copland the Populist’ and those three great ballet scores of 1938-44: Billy the Kid, Rodeo and Appalachian Spring.
The year 2000 marks the centenary for Aaron Copland, and what better conductor to bring his best-loved Americana compositions into the next millennium than Michael Tilson Thomas? On his follow-up to 1996's Copland: The Modernist disc, the forward-thinking conductor leads the San Francisco Symphony through Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring, and Rodeo--three well-worn compositions steeped in Americana and virtually owned by Leonard Bernstein on a now legendary single disc. But Tilson Thomas doesn't try to compete with Bernstein, instead giving these works an inventive, impressionistic reading all his own. He adds a noirish color to the introduction of Billy the Kid, a perfect contrast to the work's folksier elements.
- Jason Verlinde
1. Appalachian Spring (1943-1944) 35:51
2. Rodeo (1942) 19:17
3. Billy the Kid: Suite (1938) 21:09