Colin Clarke

Copland: Orchestral Works Volume 3: An Outdoor Overture. Symphony No 1. Statements. Dance Symphony

8:00, 22nd February 2018

BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5195 68 mins

The value of this disc is enhanced by a rare recording of Copland’s Statements (1932-5). The composer recorded this complete score twice (Everest, c1958; CBS in 1965 – both times with the LSO). The BBC Philharmonic’s performance is involved and seems to relish the grittier aspects of the score (the sparse scoring of ‘Dogmatic’ or the meaty ‘Prophetic’ for example).

The Outdoor Overture, originally for a youth orchestra, is unremittingly, brightly optimistic, showcasing Chandos’ superb recording. The symphony is an arrangement of the Symphony for Organ and Orchestra. Stravinsky’s influence is clearest in the second movement; this performance’s strength is the finale, which flows like lava. The Dance Symphony originated from a ballet inspired by Nosferatu; the slow movement could be an outtake from a slow section of Stravinsky’s Rite. It is extremely beautiful; the final ‘Dance of mockery’ is superbly dark-cartoonish here, its superposed layers brilliantly clear. Copland’s own 1967 LSO recording is powerful and obviously authoritative but Wilson boasts better sound.

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