September 9, 2016
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Aaron Copland’s internationally celebrated masterpiece, Appalachian Spring, and his jazz-influenced ballet, Hear Ye! Hear Ye!, is now available for sale on the Naxos label. This release is volume two of the Complete Ballet series.
Appalachian Spring (1944), a beloved staple of dance companies worldwide, was a collaboration between Copland and legendary choreographer Martha Graham. Set in rural Pennsylvania during the 19th century, it tells the idyllic tale of newlyweds building a simple life together. The score draws on American folk music, including fiddle tunes and the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts.”
In contrast, the lesser-known Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (1934) shows a different side of America, revealing the story of a nightclub murder and the ensuing trial in a Chicago courtroom. Copland wrote the work for Ruth Page, who went on to become the Grande Dame of American ballet, and infused his score with jazz-inflected passages, sound effects, and a take-off on the national anthem.