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COPLAND, A.: Appalachian Spring / Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (Detroit Symphony, Slatkin)


Naxos 8.559806

   BBC Music Magazine, October 2017
   Musical Toronto, February 2017
   MusicWeb International, February 2017
   Fanfare, January 2017
   American Record Guide, January 2017
   Gramophone, December 2016
   MusicWeb International, December 2016
   Classical Net, November 2016
   Review Corner, November 2016
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, November 2016
   The Chronicle, October 2016
   MusicWeb International, October 2016
   AllMusic.com, October 2016
   Infodad.com, September 2016
   ClassicsToday.com, September 2016
   Pizzicato, September 2016
   WFMT (Chicago), September 2016
   David's Review Corner, September 2016

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Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, October 2017

Leonard Slatkin and his Detroit Symphony Orchestra negotiate all this brightly and efficiently… © 2017 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review



Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, February 2017

Leonard Slatkin, who has long been in the forefront of American conductors seriously promoting the work of their country’s composers, has always conducted Copland’s music with great authority and that is certainly the case in this recording. Under his direction, the orchestra responds with fine playing. © 2017 Musical Toronto Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, February 2017

I enjoyed this music very much. It’s vivid, colourful and dramatic. …Slatkin and his Detroit orchestra give a committed and highly entertaining account… This is a significant addition to the Copland discography.

This is a splendid disc that all Copland devotees should try to hear. The performances of both works are first rate. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, January 2017

Slatkin takes a more gentle and lyrical approach to Appalachian Spring than Leonard Bernstein or Tilson Thomas, who is, not surprisingly, more similar to Bernstein. Slatkin’s reading is valid, and works especially well with Appalachian Spring, but many listeners will find it to be lethargic or too laid back when compared to Bernstein’s crisper rhythms and heightened dynamics. Slatkin’s new Naxos version is about a minute and a half longer than his EMI performance, but the lyrical style is otherwise nearly identical. So, the deciding factors may be the sound and the couplings. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, January 2017

…people who like [Copland’s] music without reservations may be very glad this work has been recorded by a terrific American orchestra and conductor who understand it perfectly.

…you will be pleased to have this beautiful recording of the whole thing. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Christian Hoskins
Gramophone, December 2016

Slatkin’s new interpretation is vigorous and communicative, and the playing is distinguished too… © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, December 2016

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!—the title comes from the preamble to proceedings in a US court. This one-act ballet centres on the trial for the murder of a male night-club dancer and the conflicting evidence of several witnesses. The ballet was danced in Chicago in 1934 and Copland drew a concert suite from the ballet but soon afterwards withdrew both ballet and suite. As Dan Morgan observed, this is something of a mystery for the music has style and vivacity. This performance of the complete Appalachian Spring is riveting. As Dan says, Bravo, bravo, thrice bravo. © 2016 MusicWeb International



Brian Wigman
Classical Net, November 2016

…[Hear Ye! Hear Ye!] is a marvelously crafted ballet score that is far less “populist” than the great composer’s later works, …the ballet is a courtroom drama, and it’s amazingly vivid. Think of it…as a Perry Mason ballet. It’s got the tough and crusty feel of the 30’s and 40’s, mixed with some really engaging dance numbers and some rollicking musical “testimony”. Along the way, there’s actual gunshots, gavels banging, a twisted take on the National Anthem, and some genuine beauty, too.

The Detroit Symphony has recorded Appalachian Spring before, albeit in the 1945 Suite. …Truth be told, every lover of musical Americana has a favorite version of this work, and this present one is excellent without being irreplaceable. Still, it makes a logical coupling, and at 72 minutes, the disc is more generous than many other earlier volumes in the American Classics series. As for the orchestra itself, the playing is both confident and (in the former work especially) brash and exciting. © 2016 Classical Net Read complete review



Jerobear
Review Corner, November 2016

This is a fine live performance. © 2016 Review Corner Read complete review



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, November 2016

Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra present a pairing of Aaron Copland’s best-loved ballet with one that has been virtually unknown for many years and is much in need of friends. Both are given dynamic performances that emphasise the vivid colors, the strong contrasts of themes and timbres, and the undeniable appeal to the emotions that represent Copland at his very best. © 2016 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



JMC
The Chronicle, October 2016

The themes of these two pieces are almost opposites yet the music is quite similar—presumably why they have been paired—both pieces being bouncy and crisp, the liveliness of the speakeasy life portrayed in the first piece (Hear Ye!) matching the crispness of the pioneer life in Spring.

This is a fine live performance (Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit, 2013). © 2016 The Chronicle




Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, October 2016

Slatkin’s Appalachian Spring—which begins a little too soon after Hear Ye! Hear Ye!—certainly starts well. The strings have that necessary lustre, the woodwinds are suitably plangent and there’s a wonderful serenity to this sylvan scene that augurs well for what’s to come. This conductor may seem a little dewy eyed at the outset but the leaping dance rhythms that follow are taut and sinewy. The orchestral blend is impressive and the level of detail—especially in the score’s quiet stretches—is quite exceptional.

I was also struck by the spontaneity of Slatkin’s reading, and the way he makes the music sound newly minted. This certainly isn’t one of those moulded, rather safe concert performances that, although beautiful, misses the ballet’s tough, hand-hewn character. This performance—bright and sunny—really is rooted in the great outdoors. That said, Slatkin’s also at home in the darkened pit, responding to the demands of his dancers and making the most of those big, expansive climaxes. As for the DSO, they respond to Copland’s gentle interludes with hushed intensity.

…I’d say Slatkin’s Appalachian Spring is one of the most illuminating performances of this American classic that I’ve ever heard. Bravo, bravo and thrice bravo! © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Blair Sanderson
AllMusic.com, October 2016

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra gives Slatkin emotionally appropriate performances of both works, emphasizing the gritty urban ambience in Hear Ye! Hear Ye! and the naive sweetness of Appalachian Spring, all the while communicating Copland’s special style of Americana without caricature. © 2016 AllMusic.com Read complete review




Infodad.com, September 2016

…as well-played as the first volume, …Slatkin is a fine Copland interpreter, with a flair for the composer’s orchestral color and balance and a good sense of the danceability of both the pieces here. © 2016 Infodad.com Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, September 2016

Leonard Slatkin has a long history of delivering excellent Copland performances, and this new release is no exception.

Slatkin’s performance is relatively relaxed, but not droopy, and he doesn’t distend the slow bits unduly. © 2016 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2016

After a powerful performance of the seldom played ballet Hear Ye! Hear Ye!, Leonard Slatkin delivers a striking account of Appalachian Spring, vividly colourful with poetically tender passages. © 2016 Pizzicato



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2016

Aaron Copland wrote his rarely-heard ballet Hear Ye! Hear Ye! for the dancer and choreographer Ruth Page. Its scenario is a murder in a nightclub and the ensuing trial in a Chicago courtroom. Copland infused the score with the spirit of his jazz-influenced pieces, controversially distorting part of the National Anthem, and infiltrating music from some of his earlier works. In complete contrast, Appalachian Spring is his most famous work, a true American masterpiece founded on transfigured dance tunes and song melodies. © 2016 WFMT (Chicago)



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2016

“The music was really incidental to the dance, and I discovered some music is more incidental than others,” Aaron Copland said when withdrawing Hear Ye! Hear Ye! He had composed the ballet for Ruth Page, a largely forgotten American ballet dancer and choreographer working in the first half of the Twentieth century. The story was set in a Chicago courtroom where three witnesses give very different accounts of a nightclub murder, each one blaming a different suspect. In the end the very bored jury find all three guilty. Though Copland looked to inject colour into the story with different jazz-influenced dances that included a blues and tango, it was, from its premiere, a lost cause, even though he later made an orchestral suite. In 1937, he withdrew both versions and they faded into obscurity. To my innocent ear, the eighteen scenes, which take almost thirty-five minutes, are quite entertaining, particularly when given Leonard Slatkin’s zestful performance and an orchestra that was obviously enjoying it. It is coupled with Appalachian Spring, one of the finest 20th century American ballets, its use of folk idioms giving it an immediate and lasting popularity. Copland later made a concert version, Slatkin opting for the complete ballet score. From the peaceful opening pastoral scene, Slatkin transports us to pure Americana, vividly picturing the scenes of the young married couple creating a farm. From a random comparison with several other recorded performances, this would be my preference, the playing from the ballet-sized orchestra so sharply detailed. We also have the best sound quality I have ever heard from Detroit. Enthusiastically recommended. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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