By Mona Seghatoleslami ~ Posted Thu, 08/02/2012 - 1:20pm
A few friends sat on a porch in Rochester on a recent cool summer night. There was music, and beer, and some talk of going hiking. The music varied as different people used Spotify to play Nick Waterhouse, Leonard Cohen, Olivia Tremor Control, Wilco, and whatever else came to mind.
Late at night, late enough to be almost early, one of the denizens of this porch called up Coplandâ€™s music for The Red Pony. He then turned to me, the ostensible classical music expert, and asked: â€śWhy do I like this music? What makes it so good?â€ť
A weak dodge: â€śIf I knew that, Iâ€™d be Copland, or a respected music scholar, or maybe a world famous music criticâ€¦â€ť
I then went for a vague attempt at explaining parallel intervals and counterpoint, with references to William Billings, shape note singing, and folk music, with a nod to the American landscape and its wide open spaces for good measure. That wasnâ€™t quite right either. And itâ€™s been bothering me.
So, Iâ€™m working on a better answer.
For this friend who loves The Red Pony, and my desk neighbor who likes Appalachian Spring and Rodeo, and all my friends who arenâ€™t always classical music fans but are drawn to Copland and expect me to know why â€“ Iâ€™m going to try to figure it out. Iâ€™ll have something to say to you. Give me a month.
That month will give me some time to read and listen, and perhaps find a Copland scholar or two to interview. The invented deadline, it is hoped, will keep me from continuing to hide behind the fact that other people have written all about Copland, and everything else too, as Iâ€™ve recently been letting myself believe. No more of that - FILDI.
Oh, and if you have any thoughts on Copland, know people I should be talking to, or have suggestions for reading and listening, please, PLEASE, write something in the comments. Thank you.