For me this music connects us to the little town truth of America that I think my parents lived and told stories about. There is difficulty and ugliness in the history of small town America and much of our solidity and strength. Copland captures and releases it all without words. Strengths, conflicts, moods, remembrance, horrors and loves in wordless memories. These days the strengths and moods and peculiarities of "Small Town" America all seem to have gone somewhere else.
In the 'connected' world is there a small town anywhere? Popular culture is not a small town, spreading as it does along every freeway and airway across the world. It is hard to pin point where those small town strengths now live. I think they must live in the millions of small communities of friends that are not so much about places as they are about shared time and memory. The relationships I am noticing are about communication with each other over distance and time. Perhaps it is about choosing to utilize technology to witness each others lives. A living network among each person's disbursed loved ones and friends and memories... at a distance. Telling stories to each other like mom and dad told stories except now we do it over the phone, email, text, and Facebook. Mom and dad in their stories introduced us to earlier times to help us witness the family in history through their eyes and hearts and memories.
Elders share with youth the basic human strength that we all need to tell stories, share memories and take the risk of sharing our dreams. We all need to find uses in these new tools and do strong work with them.
Aaron Copeland, in his Appalachian Spring shows us how to use any media to describe our own lives and our own America and inspires us to tell the small stories underlying our days to each other.
The smallest town is my body and your body too and the small memories.
Here is Aaron Copland rehearsing Appalachian Spring:
And here is The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performing Appalachian Spring (with other selections) in one of the country’s most beautiful historic sites: Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky. (You can go to 58:20 to be at the beginning of "Appalachian Spring") (The first hour of the performance is full of wonderful American music!)
And here an amazing performance live in Detroit 2014. It is the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Mr. Slatkin tells a compelling story about Copland's final communication regarding his work.