". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ABP Challenge, Day 5

For Susan, who says these posts aren't boring. ;-)

Yesterday in the car a piece of orchestral music came on the radio just as we were pulling into the garage. Caitlin and I had the same reaction: my, but it was pretty! But we were at our destination and had things to do, so I turned the car off and we went inside. I made a mental note to look the piece up later. I recognized the title and composer but wasn't sure if I had ever listened to it before.

The work? Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring. Here's the Wiki. The score was originally composed to accompany a ballet by Martha Graham. The ballet premiered in 1944, and in 1945 Copland reworked the score into a suite for orchestral performance alone. He received the Pulitzer Prize for music for the work that same year.

I have come to take this kind of technology for granted, but it is amazing to me that today, in 2012, I was able to "Google" up YouTube videos of the original performance of the ballet, with Martha Graham dancing the lead ballerina part. The video is in black and white and on YouTube is divided into four installments. Today I viewed the first two. They are beautiful to watch and listen to! Here's installment number one (I trust you can find the others if you're interested). I will try to watch parts three and four tomorrow.

In a comment on my last post Rebekah said that she likes how listening is a part of my life. In truth, though, listening to music has been less a part of my life in recent years than it used to be. First off, I am a visual person. Ask my husband--listening is not my strong suit. Ironic for a musician, huh? I like to read more than I like to listen, and in recent years I have been more inclined to listen to words than to music. But in looking for alternatives to news and talk shows this past week I have rediscovered the soothing presence of a classical music soundtrack. It really is salve for the soul.

The video is 8 or 9 minutes long--if you have just a minute or two, at least listen to the introduction, in which the main characters are introduced. The harmonies are astonishingly beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Forgive me for sounding snobby, but *How have you not heard Appalachian Spring before now*???!!!

They play it on Classical radio stations all the time.

(In the spring, of course)


Cheryl said...

Oh, I've heard it. But not enough to recognize the opening bars. And I had never watched the ballet. If they play it on classical radio all the time I guess I will come to know it well since that is what I am listening to these days!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, maybe they just play *parts* of it on the radio.


Cheryl said...

In my defense, I have listened to a lot more piano music than orchestral music over the years!

mz said...

I don't think your posts are boring either. For better or worse, this is what always pops into my head when I hear about Martha Graham:


Leah said...

Oh, I really like this piece. I have Appalachian Spring in my iTunes library and I play it from time to time if I'm alone in the kitchen on a quiet afternoon (rare ;), and I also recently ordered a song that is a brass only version (by Empire Brass) of a 3 minute portion of it called "Simple Gifts," a beautiful arrangement.

The piece impresses me with how it can evoke so many different (strong) emotions within such a short period of time - elation, awe, joy, contemplation, and sadness. I'm not sure which feeling I'm left with when it's all over. It is indeed beautiful.