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NA 9240
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NA 9240

COPLAND: Prairie Journal / The Red Pony Suite / Letter from Home

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2008


JoAnn Falletta

Record Label



Total Time - 59:47
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Select Complete Single Disc for

Prairie Journal


Rodeo: 4 Dance Episodes

2 No. 1. Buckeroo Holiday 7:19
3 No. 2. Corral Nocturne 3:42
4 No. 3. Saturday Night Waltz 4:24
5 No. 4. Hoe-Down 3:26

Letter from Home


The Red Pony Suite (orchestral version)

7 I. Morning on the Ranch 4:27
8 II. The Gift 4:31
9 IIIa. Dream March 2:28
10 IIIb Circus March 1:48
11 IV. Walk to the Bunkhouse 2:57
12 V. Grandfather's Story 4:15
13 VI. Happy Ending 3:10
 JoAnn Falletta

This Copland collection is devoted specifically to works inspired by the spacious landscape of the American prairie. The Suite for the 1948 film of John Steinbeck’s novel The Red Pony, depicts life on a ranch in California. The composer described the music as ‘folkish’, although the themes are all original. The second of Copland’s ‘cowboy ballets’, Rodeo, about the desperate attempts of a cowgirl to become a ranch cowhand, quotes a variety of American folk-tunes, and includes the irrepressible Hoe Down. Prairie Journal offers a vivid sonic evocation of life on a western range, while Letter from Home, completed during the peak of World War II, beautifully conjures the feelings of nostalgia one might experience at a far-away army camp.
"The Naxos release in 2006 with JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic, given the special rosette by the Penguin Guide to recorded classical music, is an excellent choice. In addition to doing a superb job on The Red Pony the disc also offers the Prairie Journal, an eleven minute piece about life and times on the western range from the wakeup call, breakfast, sunrise, cattle herding, and watching the sunset after a long hard day. Letter from Home, a sentimental Copland at his best, and Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes) are also included. Part of Rodeo is “Buckaroo Holiday” a difficult piece to play which can easily be made to sound rather choppy with chunks of music stuck together. This is not the case with Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic who give it a nice feel while maintaining the difficult tempo. Considering the value of Naxos this is highly recommended."
Thomas Kiefner - Film Score Monthly - September 2010

 "Some discs are recommendable just because they present appealing, well-played programs in good sound at a great price. In such cases, comparisons are not the issue; we can enjoy them as a concert in our living rooms. JoAnn Falletta’s new Copland disc is one of those... The sound of this recording is evenly balanced and blended as well as quite natural and musical. It’s also distant, and I can imagine some listeners wanting more sparkle on top, as well as more clarity and detail."

Hecht - American Record Guide - April 2007

"A Copland collection not to be missed, for it contains much rare and inspired music, notably the nostalgic wartime Letter from Home and Prairie Journal, commissioned by the Columbia Broadcasting Network in 1936, predating Billy the Kid and Rodeo, and just as evocative of the Western landscapes. But even more valuable is Copland’s enchanting score for the 1948 film of John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony about life on a Californian ranch. The delectably folksy Walk to the Bunkhouse and infinitely touching Grandfather’s Story are alone worth the modest price of this superb disc. JoAnne Falletta is totally in tune with the Copland ethos and the excellent Buffalo Philharmonic play all this music with a natural understanding of the idiom: they are wonderfully boisterous in the Hoe Down from Rodeo. Splendidly vivid and atmospheric recording, too. Not to be missed."   *** - keynote Recording - Rosette award
The Penguin Guide - January 2009

 "This release contains one of his most recorded works, the Four Dance episodes from the ballet Rodeo, so it faces some pretty stiff competition. How does it compare? Well actually, rather well. The Buffalo Philharmonic is a tight and tidy orchestra and they play with concentration and enthusiasm for their Music director JoAnn Falletta, who enjoys a well-deserved reputation for capturing the spirit of American music. She even manages to bring fresh insight to some of Copland’s best-known pieces. The Suite from the 1948 film of Steinbeck’s novel The Red Pony, one of Copland’s finest creations, here receives a colourful and sympathetic performance. Of particular interest are the two less-familiar pieces written for radio. Prairie Journal was commissioned by CBS Radio in 1936 and partly owes its title to the listeners’ response to the first broadcast. Letter from Home, the one work not depicting life in a sprawling western landscape, was composed during WW II. Its sentimental strains evoke the emotions of troops at the front, as they open their mail from home."

Geoff Bennett - Limelight Magazine - March 2007

"...Characteristic Copland - tunes you feel you’ve known all your life... These are lively performances in the Copland tradition."
Peter Dickenson - Gramophone magazine - Awards edition 2006

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