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ClassicsOnline Home » COPLAND: Prairie Journal / The Red Pony Suite / Letter from Home
This Copland collection is devoted specifically to works inspired by the spacious landscape of the American prairie. The Suite for the 1948 film of John Steinbeck’s novel The Red Pony, depicts life on a ranch in California. The composer described the music as ‘folkish’, although the themes are all original. The second of Copland’s ‘cowboy ballets’, Rodeo, about the desperate attempts of a cowgirl to become a ranch cowhand, quotes a variety of American folk-tunes, and includes the irrepressible Hoe Down. Prairie Journal offers a vivid sonic evocation of life on a western range, while Letter from Home, completed during the peak of World War II, beautifully conjures the feelings of nostalgia one might experience at a far-away army camp.
By Thomas Kiefner
Film Score Monthly
By Geoff Bennett
This release contains one of his most recorded works, the Four Dance episodes from the ballet Rodeo, so it faces some pretty stiff competition. How does it compare? Well actually, rather well. The Buffalo Philharmonic is a tight and tidy orchestra and they play with concentration and enthusiasm for their Music director JoAnn Falletta, who enjoys a well-deserved reputation for capturing the spirit of American music. She even manages to bring fresh insight to some of Copland’s best-known pieces. The Suite from the 1948 film of Steinbeck’s novel The Red Pony, one of Copland’s finest creations, here receives a colourful and sympathetic performance. Of particular interest are the two less-familiar pieces written for radio. Prairie Journal was commissioned by CBS Radio in 1936 and partly owes its title to the listeners’ response to the first broadcast. Letter from Home, the one work not depicting life in a sprawling western landscape, was composed during WW II. Its sentimental strains evoke the emotions of troops at the front, as they open their mail from home.
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