Monday, 12 November 2012

Copeland clarinet concerto

Whilst driving to Paris yesterday, we listened to CBC radio two in the car.  As part of their Remembrance Day programming, they played a work that I haven't heard in probably a decade, but one which I absolutely adore - the Copeland clarinet concerto.  It was one of those things I had on a CD at one point, and which I became completely obsessed with....listening to it over and over again, several times a day for a couple of weeks, almost to the exclusion of any other piece (this is an old habit of mine with music I like).  Then, eventually and predictably, I hit the tipping point, where my obsessive interest turned against me, and I could not bear to hear it even a single time more.   Thankfully, the intervening decade appears to have reset the balance, and on hearing it yesterday, I was reminded of why it had triggered that mesmerizing, compulsive intensity of feeling in me.  And today, I was absolutely delighted to find a two-part YouTube video, of a performance conducted by Aaron Copeland himself, with Benny Goodman, for whom the piece was orginally intended, as the soloist.  I still can't quite get over how Copeland takes us from languid, pastoral tranquility, beautifully rendered, into a madness of jazz-age inspired, rhythmically propulsive driving energy....but he does, and very successfully.  If you can, make time to listen to both parts of the video, and hear that contrast for yourself.  If you haven't come across this piece,  do let me know what your thoughts and reactions are to it.

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