Aaron Copland - Doyen of American Music

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Aaron Copland - Doyen of American Music

<p>American music after WWI often imitated European compositional trends. The growing popularity and influence of Jazz was important but composers struggled to find their individual voices. Aaron

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American music after WWI often imitated European compositional trends. The growing popularity and influence of Jazz was important but composers struggled to find their individual voices. Aaron Copland young, talented and ambitious, followed a traditional path and went to study composition in Paris. After three years his professor send him home to mine his own heritage, to assimilate and utilise what he had not yet heard for himself – New World vitality that did not rely on European models. He become the most revered composer and musical mentor in the USA for the next fifty years. We will explore a number of his signature works, among them Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man, Billy the Kid and some of his captivating vocal music.


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Introduction to the 19th C European influence on American music; Copland’s early efforts at composition; encounters with French composers and musicians. Boulanger’s influence on him. Listen to some of the new directions he heard in Parisian cabaret music. (include Poulenc, Stravinsky, Satie, etc) He returns to the U.S.A. to absorb characteristics of folk songs and American pioneer stories.
  • Copland utilises the potent appeal of these elements and attracts the attention of writers, choreographers and conductors. (Fanfare for the Common Man, Appalachian Spring, etc.)


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Use a vocabulary of musical terms to describe/discuss basic composition techniques and apply them to their general listening experience.
  2. Listen to music familiar and new to them with concern for sound layering, awareness of linear structure and increased acuity for orchestration and instrument combinations.
  3. Be more aware of the subtleties and nuances that distinguish good music from the truly inspired.