Saturday, July 27, 2013

Copland's Cummington Clarinet Connection

My daughter's at a music camp out in rural Cummington, MA and, since we just read the chapter on Copland and FDR-era populism in The Rest is Noise in a summer class, I remembered that Copland had written the score for a little U.S. documentary about immigrants called "The Cummington Story."

I'd learned about the film from the music camp, which had learned of the score back in 2008 and had their junior camp orchestra perform it.

The film/documentary is a hokey but earnestly charming twenty minutes of nostalgia of which I'd never watched more than a few minutes; but since I was thinking a lot about Copland, I watched the whole thing this morning and, not surprisingly, a lot of the music sounds like a lot of Copland, but I was still surprised by an extra jolt of recognition around the 12:45 mark of the film. The music there is very close to the climactic moments in the first movement of the composer's clarinet concerto, as at around the 4:00 mark below:

I wanted to think I'd made some great musicological discovery (although it's pretty obvious), but it turns out even Wikipedia already knew about this connection between the 1945 score and the 1947-48 concerto. Still, as this blog has often evidenced, hearing this kind of connection is one of my favorite things about listening to music...

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