The Aaron Copland Collection ca. 1900-1990


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About Aaron Copland's Works

A Brief Introduction to the Music of Aaron Copland

Author’s Note: The Copland Works List that is part of the online Aaron Copland Collection from the Library of Congress lists all Aaron Copland’s compositions save for unpublished juvenilia. This essay briefly places many of Copland’s best known and most significant works in the context of his development as a composer. While it cites the works as examples of various tendencies in Copland’s music, the reader should remember that like any work of art, every work mentioned is an entity in itself–and knowing where a work stands in an interpretive scheme such as that outlined in the present essay is no substitute for knowing the work itself. Yet this essay may suggest interesting Copland works to each reader while offering ways to think about them at a first hearing.

Wayne Shirley