Copland, Aaron – Choirs and Voices – 03 The Second Hurricane
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, ... 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.... 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.
Kraft and Copland in 1970 on a visit to the UK
A description of the experience
The Second Hurricane
Around 1935 Copland began to compose musical pieces for young audiences. These works included piano pieces (The Young Pioneers) and an opera (The Second Hurricane).
The Second Hurricane is an opera in two acts by Aaron Copland to a libretto by Edwin Denby. Specifically written for school performances, it lasts just under an hour and premiered on April 21, 1937, at the Henry Street Settlement playhouse in New York City. Set in the United States in the 1930s, the opera tells the story of a group of high school students who become trapped on an island while working to rescue the victims of a hurricane.
The Second Hurricane was Copland's first attempt at composing opera and was commissioned by the Henry Street Settlement in New York. The premiere production was designed by Orson Welles and conducted by Lehman Engel. The young Joseph Cotten played the small speaking role of Mr. Maclenahan.
The work was performed on CBS Radio May 9, 1937, in a one-hour broadcast directed by Earle McGill.
The work has only been sporadically performed since its premiere. In honor of Copland's 85th birthday, it was revived at the Henry Street Settlement in November 1985 in a production by Tazewell Thompson which restored an aria and a ballet which had been cut from the work at its premiere.