The exploration by John Wilson of Copland’s major orchestral output with the BBC Philharmonic has now reached Volume 3, with this invigorating programme recorded in surround-sound. It opens with An Outdoor Overture, a cheerful and breezy piece which Copland composed in 1938, intending to spearhead an initiative encouraging ‘American Music for American Youth’. Originally written for organ and orchestra, the First Symphony is presented here in its revised version (1926-28) for large orchestra. The six concise movements of Statements (1932-35) introduce a new style, their gritty soundscapes being stunning examples of what Copland later would refer to as ‘hard-bitten’ pieces. The concluding work is the expressive, fantastical Dance Symphony (1929) which explores different styles of symphonic movements, its dark aura a residue of its origin as a ballet on a grotesque vampire theme, composed 1922-25 and named Grohg. The symphony has remained a highly controversial piece ever since.
BBC Philharmonic, John Wilson.
"Wilson relishes the eerie orchestral effects of the central Dance of the Young Girl, but also revels in the Stravinskyan rhythmic audacity of the faster sections. He is an ideal champion for this latterly neglected music, especially the six aphoristic Statements (1932-35) and the cheery Outdoor Overture."