'Made in America': Unknown Copland

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Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland called his Symphonic Ode a "transitional work, a summing up as well as a look ahead." © John Ardoin hide caption

itoggle caption © John Ardoin

Over the years, the popularity of Aaron Copland's ballets Appalachian Spring, Rodeo and Billy the Kid — with their tuneful, wide open spaces — have overshadowed some of his earlier works.

As a young composer just back from studying in Paris, Copland wrote a Symphony for Organ. It inspired a famous quote by conductor Walter Damrosch: "If a gifted young man can write a symphony like this at age 23, within five years he will be ready to commit murder."

A couple of years later Copland wrote his Symphonic Ode. It doesn't sound "murderous," though its sounds are more angular than those of Appalachian Spring. Copland called it "a transitional work, a summing up as well as a look ahead."

We're spending this week highlighting music by American composers, as played by the Seattle Symphony and conductor Gerard Schwarz.

Host Fred Child talks with Schwarz about Aaron Copland, and we hear the Seattle Symphony perform Copland's Symphonic Ode.

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