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These 12 half-hour programs offer an insight into the seminal music of the 20th century by one of America's profound musical minds and, arguably, its most celebrated composer.
The lectures and the television series focus on the years commencing in 1921, when, as a young man, Copland journeyed to Paris. There he studied for three years with the legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger. Steeped within the seismic revolutionary 20's cultural upheaval that altered painting, literature and music, Copland was energized by contacts with many of the personalities who were the substance of the changes.
He mixed with painters - Chagall, Picasso, Modigliani and with writers - James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and André Gide. But Copland was naturally enthralled and enlightened by the composers: especially Stravinsky, Schoenberg and their influences on Berg, Webern and almost everyone else; by French composers, Satie, Poulenc, Milhaud, Honegger; by fellow Americans, Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, Charles Ives; by European schools - Béla Bartok, Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill; by American jazz and its impact on Stravinsky and Milhaud among others.
The twelve programs contain a detailed illuminating discourse by Maestro Copland.
The series includes on-camera performances by a hand-picked studio orchestra along with appearances of instrumental luminaries: Sylvia Marlowe, David Tudor, Paul Jacobs, Tossy Spivakovsky, the Julliard String Quartet; vocalists: Beverly Sills, Lotte Lenya, Donald Gramm and conductors: Aaron Copland, Sarah Caldwell, Milton Rosenstock and Igor Stravinsky.
The programs also contain appropriate instructive piano demonstrations by Aaron Copland of key music elements.
MUSIC IN THE 20's will prove to be an invaluable aid to scholars, music educators and a renewed insight to music lovers.