The Music of Aaron Copland

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ISBN: 978-0-907689-08-9
Release Date: 1985-09-15
Composer: Aaron Copland
Author: Neil Butterworth
Series: Composer Studies

Preface by André Previn
With a talk on the piano music between Aaron Copland and Leo Smit
Extent: 262 pages
Composition: Demy octavo ~ Illustrated ~ Bibliography ~ Index

Aaron Copland was one of the twentieth century’s most popular and distinguished composers. His ballets Rodeo, Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid are as warmly admired by music-lovers as his more abstract works are respected by musicologists and his fellow composers. Copland was born in 1900 in Brooklyn, where he began his musical career, before moving to the Paris of the 1920’s, where Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Les Six were the centre of attention. On his return to the United States at the end of the decade he began to produce a series of works which could leave no-one in any doubt that American composers were capable of writing music equal to the best of their European contemporaries.

Neil Butterworth’s chronological survey of Copland’s entire output (the first book to appear on his music in 30 years) discusses every one of his compositions and examines his influential writings on music. The Music of Aaron Copland, which is profusely illustrated with music examples and photographs, includes a conversation on the piano music with Aaron Copland and Leo Smit and also features sketches of Copland in rehearsal by Milein Cosman.

4 reviews for The Music of Aaron Copland

  1. :

    ‘A really excellent companion to the works of America’s most popular ‘classical’ composer’

    Evening Echo

  2. :

    ‘this volume serves as a fine listener’s guide to the music of Aaron Copland.’

    —Karl Miller, Classical Net

  3. :

    ‘This new book forms a valuable addition to our knowledge about the composer. […]

    This is a book aimed mainly at the professional musician, but the readable style will appeal to the general music lover with limited technical knowledge too for the author’s analyses often contain much of interest besides the actual musical examples. […]


    —Ian Lace, MusicWeb International

  4. :

    ‘Butterworth is especially good at pointing out relationships between serial Copland and The Copland We All Know and Love. What it demonstrates is how Copland always sounds like Copland, whether in tonal motley or serial bar-mitzvah suit.’

    —Steve Schwartz, Classical Net

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