Five essential works by Aaron Copland

We choose the best pieces by the composing voice of America, Aaron Copland


Fanfare for the Common Man

This brassy blast of pure Americana was one of 18 fanfares commission by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.


Recommended recording:
London Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland
Sony Classical SMK 89874


A ‘cowboy ballet’ with American folk tunes within its five-movement structure, Rodeo is fun, sassy and jazzy. The final ‘Hoe-down’ is its signature movement.

Recommended recording:
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas
RCA 82876658402

Appalachian Spring

A beautiful ballet celebrating American pioneers of the 1800s. Copland evokes the wide open spaces of his rural homeland.

Recommended recording:
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein
DG 477 6352

Clarinet Concerto

The opening movement has been called ‘a perfect fusion of Satie and Mahler’. Jazz rhythms combine with a classical scope for a thoroughly modern masterpiece.

Recommended recording:
Benny Goodman (clarinet), Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Bernstein
Sony SK 43337

Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson

Copland didn’t write many songs, but this cycle is one of the finest written after the Second World War. Deeply personal, it deals with love, death and self-discovery.


Recommended recording:
Barbara Bonney (soprano), André Previn (piano)
Decca 455 5112