Benjamin Pasternack (piano)
St Charles Singers
Elgin Symphony Orchestra
Robert Hanson, conductor
Aaron Copland’s little-known opera The Tender Land takes place on a farm in the American South during the Depression.
The composer later wrote, “I was trying to give young American singers material that they do not often get in the opera house... The result was closer to musical comedy than grand opera.”
The suite that Copland extracted from The Tender Land is in three movements, with the second and third linked without pause.
The 1926 Piano Concerto, like Gershwin’s Concerto of the previous year, is a 1920s “New York” piece – brassy, exuberant, ever confident in its bluesy swagger.
Copland composed two sets of Old American Songs, originally for voice and piano but heard here transcribed for chorus and orchestra.