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Observations placeholder

Copland, Aaron – Ballets – 02 Appalachian Spring [Arrangement of Appalachian Spring for orchestra]



Type of Spiritual Experience



From the website Gay Influence

A fortuitous side effect of [Copland’s love for Kraft]  was Copland’s rebirth as a composer. He dropped his complicated, dense European style of writing and began filling scores with a fresh, simple kind of music, a reflection of the lifestyle he and Kraft had shared in Mexico. …

Copland then set about writing a string of hits, such as music for the ballet Billy the Kid and numerous film scores. Before he knew it, he found his soundtrack for the movie Of Mice and Men nominated for an Academy Award. Kraft had moved into Copland’s Manhattan apartment and took over the household, playing the role of charming host by planning and cooking for casual dinner parties. Kraft gave up his own career as a violinist to work in the field of photojournalism, going on to achieve great success in this endeavor. Kraft also insisted that Copland clear his schedule several times a year so that they could enjoy felicitous getaways as a couple.

At this time Fanfare for the Common Man, perhaps now the most recognizable 2-minute composition in history, came about as a commission from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1942. It has since been used in advertising, films, rock anthems, and even as the wake-up call for astronauts. President Obama chose it to kick-off his inaugural celebrations in 2009. Success built upon success, and the cup that held Copland’s musical inspiration was suddenly filled to overflowing.

As Copland’s fame grew, Kraft saw to it that the composer had a stress-free home life. Victor planned vacations – local getaways as well as major treks to Cuba, South America and a return visit to Mexico. Kraft even found a cottage retreat for the pair when they needed a break from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Copland bought it, and they enjoyed their first stay in rural New Jersey in 1944. That summer Copland’s Appalachian Spring won the Pulitzer Prize. Two more film scores were nominated for an Academy Award, and his soundtrack for the film adaption of the Henry James novel The Heiress (1940) won the Academy Award for best musical score.

A description of the experience

Copland Appalachian Spring (Ormandy, 1955)

The 1940s were arguably Copland's most productive years, and some of his works from this period would cement his worldwide fame. His ballet scores for Rodeo (1942) and Appalachian Spring (1944) were huge successes.

There is a Shaker tune in Appalachian Spring, which is kept very much as it was originally. This is especially true in the opening of Appalachian Spring, where the harmonisations remain "transparent and bare, suggested by the melodic disposition of the Shaker tune."


From No Minor Chords – Andre Previn

His ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo have left an ineradicable impression on a whole generation of composers, and I doubt whether any film composer faced with pictures of the Great American Outdoors, or any Western story, has been able to withstand the lure of trying to imitate some aspects of Copland's peculiar and personal harmony. Just as Elgar seems to spell 'England' to the minds of most listeners, Copland is the American sound.


Copland: Appalachian Spring (Complete Ballet) Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra Recorded March 28, 1955, in the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pa.

Released in February, 1957, as Columbia Masterworks ML-5157, coupled with the Copland's Suite from "Billy the Kid" . This was the first recording of the complete "Appalachian Spring" ballet score, which was originally scored for a 13-piece chamber ensemble. Copland extracted the well-known Suite in 1945 and orchestrated that, but not the entire score; it was at Ormandy's request that he orchestrated the remainder of the score in 1954, the year before this recording was made. The approximate start times for each section is as follows:

(0:07) Very slowly (Introduction)

(2:51) Allegro (Tutti)

(5:24) Moderato (Pas de deux: bride and groom)

(8:36) Fast (Revivalist and His Flock: barn dance)

(12:06) Presto (Bride's solo)

(14:31) Meno mosso (transition)

(16:30) Slow introduction to variations (cut from the Suite)

(16:56) Doppio movimento (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)

(19:11) Point at which the material cut from the Suite begins

(27:37) Point at which the Suite resumes (last Shaker variation)

(28:06) Moderato (Coda)

Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring

The source of the experience

Copland, Aaron

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps