Review by Audiophile.no May 9, 2014 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
|Aaron Copland was born in 1900 in Brooklyn - New York, and managed to become one of the great American composers before he died in 1990. Then he had experienced some opposition during McCarthyism in the '50s for his support of the American Communist Party in the 30`s His work consisted, inter alia, of film music, piano concertos and a flute concerto.
But the dominant music form was undoubtedly ballets. Six pieces in total and Rodeo is one of the most played. This is very American music, with western inspired landscape as almost overstated backdrop, if the title should not be enough of a clue. The composition is full of dynamism and conductor Leonard Slatkin does nothing to curb the temper.
I can not refrain from dwelling on final part of Rodeo - Hoe Down , for me a dear friend from childhood in 1972, borrowed by Emerson Lake and Palmer on their album Trilogy , and for that matter also the opening act on the triple live LP " Welcome Back my Friends to the show that never ends " that came a year or two later. An incredibly intense performance in rocking synth-costume. And yet it is puzzling that this classic performance of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in some ways is even more intense. And even more puzzling is that there is now greater time difference between our time and ELP's version, than there was between ELP and original composition in 1942. But then, it is just the fact that Copland also operated with borrowed feathers - the main theme is taken from an Irish folk tune from the 1800s. Thus, we have also confirmed the unmistakable Irish character in the play, which originally created a hint of disbelief when I first became aware that Aaron Copland is behind Hoe Down. Hoedown is otherwise a traditional American celebration dance.
The ballet Dance Panels with seven parts make up a large musical contrast to Rodeo, and is then also written 17-20 years later. It is also at the opposite end of the scale when it comes popularity, but should not be underestimated because of that. The seven pieces are spaced quite different, and perhaps even more interesting musically. However, the dynamics and the temperament of the Rodeo is not present to the same degree.
El Salon in Mexico is by far the earliest works of Copland on this recording, originally written in 1932. piece consists of only one part and is almost 12 minutes long. The Spanish-sounding atmosphere is indisputable, and dynamic filled melodic music is back.
The work Danzon Cubano was written about the same time as Rodeo, and is based on a traditional Cuban and Mexican dance, originally developed from Habanera.
Leonard Slatin has extensive experience when it comes to recording of works by Copland, and has received an Academy Award for a previous CD recording of Copland music on Naxos. Here are the outstanding interpretations of Copland, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra contributes very positively to the engaging and dynamic recordings of these works.
The same goes to an outstanding sound quality on this recording. With this dynamic quality it is very tempting to play very loud and there is a tremendous dynamics that can be challenging for playback facilites. With such frequent occurrence of powerful crescendos on deep percussion instrument, it had not been off the road if the LFE channel was used in multichannel track. As with other Blu-ray audio from Naxos release a multi-channel and stereo tracks. Naxos has varying practices with whether it is 5.0 or 5.1 offered. I am personally of the opinion that it might make sense to drop the LFE channel if recording is not particularly demanding with loud and deep bass signals, since the use of the LFE channel may give the wrong level by aberrant setup at end user. But on this recording could a subwoofer been helpful.
It is not only the dynamics that are prime. We find here a particularly aggressive surround mix where we come very close to the orchestra. Done right, this is an unconditional quality, and here it works great.
This recording of music by Aaron Copland on Blu-ray Audio is highly recommended.
This review was also published in Norwegian and English at audiophile.no
Was this review helpful to you?