The Aaron Copland Collection: Orchestral & Ballet Works (1936-1948)
FLAC + CUE | Complete Artwork Scans: 1.00 GB | 3 CDs
1990 | CBS | Classical
If you want a prime collection of Copland's more accessible works, this is it. Yes, it's true that Bernstein's recordings of individual pieces are often bolder and livelier; but this set offers the composer's own authoritative view of his work, and for that reason alone it is priceless. In addition, it includes virtually all the orchestral pieces he composed during his "populist phase," from El Salon Mexico (1936) to the Clarinet Concerto (1948). You won't find some of these lesser-known gems, such as An Outdoor Overture (1938) or Letter from Home (1944, written–like Rhapsody in Blue–for Paul Whiteman), on typical single-disc Copland compilations. I'd even go so far as to claim this as one of the four indispensable compilations of American instrumental music from the first half of the twentieth century (the others on my list–in case anyone cares–are Joshua Rifkin playing Scott Joplin, Oscar Levant playing Gershwin, and the Blanton-Webster band recordings of Duke Ellington).