NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1937 __ Prairie Journal
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Comment : “. (Prairie Journal” Music for Radio was commissioned by CBS for an on-air contest. Contestants were to listen to the piece on the radio, then send in their idea of what it should be called. Compiled from various sources)The suite "The Red Pony" was taken by the composer from his score for the 1948 film of John Steinbeck's novel of that name. The film, starring Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy, centres on the boy, Tom, his grandfather and his parents, and their life on a ranch in California. The suite, described by Copland as a suite for children, consists of six scenes, with music that the composer described as 'folklike', although the themes are all original. There was a suggestion that the music should be accompanied by a spoken narrative, to be delivered by Steinbeck, but the writer demurred at the idea of a version for children. (Keith Anderson)"Prairie Journal" was commissioned in 1936 by the Columbia Broadcasting System for a broadcast performance by its radio orchestra. It was one of several works in the network's first American Composer Commission series, with pieces commissioned from Louis Gruenberg, Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, Walter Piston and William Grant Still. Copland was invited to make a contribution, it seems, when George Gershwin refused the commission. The original published title of Copland's piece was "Music for Radio". Composed in 1937, the first performance took place in July of that year over the Columbia network under the direction of Howard Barlow. At that time listeners were invited to submit possible sub-titles. The winning suggestion, "Saga of the Prairie" by Miss Ruth Leonhardt of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, prompted the composer to retitle the work. The composition is dedicated to Davidson Taylor, the then head of the Music Division of the Columbia Broadcasting System. As for the music, "Prairie Journal" offers a vivid, sonic evocation that resonates with Copland's out-doorsy cachet. Straightaway from the downbeat, we jostle, hustle and bustle on a western range, but in turns, twilight seems to reflect across the musical canvas, though with an excitement that echoes the brilliant spirit of the locale, as the mood-set swings to and fro in quaint cycles to the serene close. (Edward Yadzinski)
Urls : http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/copland/acworksM.html (last visited ) http://www.naxosdirect.com/title/8.559240 (last visited )

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