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Posted October 1, 2010
This documentary focuses on Aaron Copland's career from his days as a student of Nadia Boulanger's in Paris through his writing of the ballet score Appalachian Spring in 1944. The documentary mixes archival footage of New York, portions of a 1972 television interview with Copland, segments in which San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas explains the mechanics of Copland's music, very brief comments from a handful of SFS players, and extracts from SFS performances of the Variations for Orchestra, Billy the Kid, Fanfare for the Common Man, and Appalachian Spring. The documentary overall is very good, although I would have preferred to hear more of the 1972 Copland interview and less of MTT, who seems slightly overexposed. On the other hand, MTT worked with Copland directly, so MTT's views definitely merit attention. The DVD also includes a SFS performance of the full ballet score of Appalachian Spring, which is a wonderful treat given that most CD performances are of the considerably shorter ballet suite only. The SFS performance uses the original 13-player scoring (necessitated by the limited pit space in the Library of Congress where the work was premiered) and is truly excellent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.