Collaboration with Martha Graham brought Copland’s name to a larger public. Originally titled Ballet for Martha and commissioned by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, this ballet won the Music Critics Circle Award. The orchestral suite garnered a Pulitzer Prize and soon became a beloved staple of orchestras worldwide. After Bernstein conducted the Suite in 1946, he wrote to his friend: “I manage somehow to borrow some of that fantastic stability of yours, that deep serenity. It is really amazing how the clouds lift with that last page.” It was not until Copland's seventieth birthday that he revived the original thirteen instrument version of Appalachian Spring. Such is the demand for this piece that the full ballet score has also been made available. In whatever format, this music, with its sensitive use of the Shaker tune, "The Gift To Be Simple," has an intimacy and beauty that the public has taken directly to its heart.
-Vivian Perlis, 1998