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  • Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes) / The Red Pony (Suite) / Prairie Journal / Letter from Home
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Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes) / The Red Pony (Suite) / Prairie Journal / Letter from Home


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Product Details


1. Prairie Journal
2. Buckaroo Holiday
3. Corral Nocturne
4. Saturday Night Waltz
5. Hoe Down
6. Letter From Home
7. I. Morning On The Ranch
8. II. The Gift
9. III. A: Dream March
10. III B: Circus Music
11. IV. Walk To The Bunkhouse
12. V. Grandfather's Story
13. VI. Happy Ending

Product Description

This Copland collection is devoted specifically to works inspired by the spacious landscape of the American prairie. The Suite for the 1948 film of John Steinbeck's novel The Red Pony, depicts life on a ranch in California. The composer described the musi

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
SPECTACULAR CD ! Nov. 16 2006
By Martin R. Lash - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you blinfolded me and played this CD I would tell you the conductor is Leonard Bernstein. The Buffalo Phil under JoAnn Falletta plays with amazing verve and energy. The playing is letter perfect and the recording quality is top rate. For under ten bucks this CD is a steal.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Four Populist Copland Works Dec 3 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Tucked in among the thrice-familiar 'Four Dance Episodes' from 'Rodeo' and music from the film 'The Red Pony' are two Copland rarities which partake of the same open-air style perfected by Copland in the 1930s. They are 'Prairie Journal' and 'Letter from Home' and both were commissioned for radio performances; alas, how far we've come from those days when American radio networks commissioned classical works.

'Prairie Journal' (earlier called, and sometime still listed as 'Music for Radio') was written in 1937 for CBS (along with commissioned works by Roy Harris, Howard Hanson, Louis Gruenberg, Walter Piston and William Grant Still). Initially called simply 'Music for Radio' there was a contest for naming it and the winner was 'Saga of the Prairie.' Copland took this suggestion to heart and renamed it 'Prairie Journal.' It is an eleven-minute evocation of the agrarian west with bustling themes, catchy rhythms, and eventually the serenity of approaching night on the prairie. This is a work worthy of being programmed more than occasionally.

'Letter from Home' was commissioned during wartime 1944 and conjures up the feelings of a soldier, far from home, receiving a letter from the folks (or perhaps the girlfriend). It has a plaintive tune first sung by the clarinet and then harmonized in an almost dreamy style. A melancholy trumpet tune recalls a similar passage in Appalachian Spring. (I wonder if this piece has ever been choreographed? It would be suitable for a solo dance, I should think.)

Of course, the dance episodes from 'Rodeo' are extremely well-known, and their hair-trigger rhythms are given a marvelously alive performance here by the crack Buffalo Philharmonic under Joann Falletta. Almost as well known are the excerpts from one of Copland's film scores, 'The Red Pony.' This has always been a great favorite of mine and I approve of the way Falletta and her orchestra manage the alternation of nostalgia, exciting, and parodic elements of the score. One might quibble some at the occasionally awkward tempo shifts, but generally speaking this is a performance that can stand with the best, including those of Leonard Bernstein.

Sound is excellent. My only complaint is the slightly short timing of the CD -- 59:55 -- and wish there could have been another selection. There would even have been time, for instance, for a performance of the 'Billy the Kid' suite. Ah, well, what we get here is certainly worth the budget outlay.

Scott Morrison
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Well Played and Well Recorded July 8 2009
By Karl W. Nehring - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Old-timers may remember that the Nonesuch label used to issue bargain-priced LPs that would sometimes feature orchestras such as the Buffalo Philharmonic. Those records were a bargain then; this new CD is a bargain today. Combining some better- and lesser-known works by Copland, all distinctly in his Americana idiom, well played and well recorded, this issue brings us nearly an hour of genuine musical enjoyment.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Superb Sept. 10 2010
By Terence J. Miles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is an extraordinary recording.

It is already been mentioned, in the other reviews, of the need for space in Copland's music. The music must be allowed to breathe, and to display the composer's rich use of harmonic and orchestral color, as well as rhythmic excitement.

This CD allows it in spades. Balance, intonation, and color are all delightfully presented in this recording. Rhythms are tight and focused, but not at the expense of sonic depth. That one can purchase this at such a bargain-basement price removes any reason not to order it immediately.

Ms. Falletta, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Naxos team are to be commended in providing us with such an excellently-produced disc. Do not hesitate; hit that order button!
Fantastic Renditions Nov. 19 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If there's a weak spot on this disc, I don't know where it is. Two familiar and two lesser-known works by Aaron Copland are featured on this release, and all the links are strong and vibrant. JoAnn Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic in a performance of the Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo that are in the league with the recordings of Bernstein and Tilson Thomas, and the suite drawn from the score for the film The Red Pony is rendered exquisitely -- I don't think I've ever heard it performed any better. Rounding out the program are Prairie Journal, an eleven-minute work that evokes the American West somewhat in the same direction as Rodeo and Billy the Kid, with a varied emotional palette but in slightly different, more subdued idiom than that of the two ballets. Letter from home, an even shorter work composed during the Second World War, has perhaps very slight hints of Our Town with horn solo, creating a sense of yearning for home. There's a lot of competition out there, of course, at least for the pair of better-known compositions, and I'd have to say that my first choice for the Rodeo dances remains Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic. The performance here of The Red Pony is so compelling, however, and those two unfamiliar works are rendered so perfectly that I have to say that I don't minding having that extra version of Rodeo around. My only real complaint about this disc is that it clocks in at almost exactly an hour, and I feel there would have been room to squeeze in a performance of Our Town. That would have made it perfect. Near-perfect, however, still rates a strong recommendation.


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