NPR's Top Ten Copland CD Picks
(As chosen by the staff of Performance Today)
Leo Smit, Copland's long-time friend and regular keyboard collaborator, offers these knowing performances of the central core of his piano works, along with many delightful diversions.
The best Lincoln Portrait, coupled with Previn's exuberant recording of The Red Pony (his classical conducting debut on disc), make this mid-priced recording a winner.
The rarely heard Dance Panels from 1962 is the standout here. Clarinetist Shifrin does a fine job with the Benny Goodman-commissioned Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, though he is out-jazzed by a Richard Stoltzman performance not available on any all-Copland collections.
A warmly winning performance of the sweetest music from Copland's heartfelt opera, spiced with the tart brevity of Copland's late-in-life Latin sketches propels this "minor league" orchestra recording into the major leagues.
Nobody did Copland with more authority than Bernstein and these zest-filled recordings, made at the height of Bernstein's tenure in New York, are simply the best.
Superb readings of Copland with an edge; none are major works in his catalogue but all are revealing of a serious side of the man too rarely heard.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Orchestral Variations; Short Symphony; Symphonic Ode. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas with pianist Garrick Ohlsson. (RCA/BMG 09026-68541-2)
Two wonderfully conducted and expertly played collections of Copland's "modern" music. Each conductor has a personal vision of Copland and is perfectly in sync with his orchestra.
Copland's consciously epic Third Symphony requires a true believer to work on every level and Bernstein supplies the necessary fervent devotion. This recording offers the best argument for this work as a Great American Symphony.
A fine collection of Copland's writing for voices that offers a real voyage of discovery for those who known Copland only through his splashy orchestral pieces.