GREAT PERFORMANCES: LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER: AARON COPLAND'S 85TH BIRTHDAY {TAPE 1 OF 2} (TV)

Summary

Tape one of two. One in this series on the performing arts. In this installment -- one in a series of live broadcasts from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City -- the New York Philharmonic salutes composer Aaron Copland on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday. Host Patrick Watson begins with a brief rundown of Copland's early career, suggesting that the idea of an American classical composer "didn't really exist until [Copland] invented it." He traces the shift in Copland's compositions from early, European-style esoteric works to pieces rooted in the American experience. This biographical segment is illustrated with photographs of Copland with such luminaries as his teacher Nadia Boulanger and his colleagues Virgil Thomson, Agnes de Mille, and Leonard Bernstein. As the orchestra members take their seats, announcer Martin Bookspan explains that the program will feature some of Copland's less heard orchestral works. Conductor Zubin Mehta then comes out to greet the composer, seated in a box, and the audience. Mehta explains that the first piece will be conducted by the Philharmonic's "laureate conductor," Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein greets the musicians and leads them in "Fanfare for the Common Man" (1942). Mehta then returns to conduct the remainder of the program. He begins with "Letters from Home," a wartime piece commissioned by Paul Whiteman in 1942 and revised by the composer in 1962. Next, the orchestra plays "John Henry," first played in 1940 and revised in 1952. During the brief break that follows (as a piano is brought onto the stage) Watson provides a short history of the piece that will follow, the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, explaining that it was first performed in 1926 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Serge Koussevitsky. The New York Philharmonic is then joined by piano soloist Bennett Lerner, and the piece is played. An intermission follows, during which the program shares a backstage conversation with Bernstein, Mehta, and the orchestra's former director, Carlos Moseley. They discuss the preceding concerto; Bernstein observes that, although Copland has always said that it represented his greatest and last jazz piece, "there's jazz in everything [Copland] writes." Moseley suggests that Copland's birthday falls on an auspicious date for Bernstein, explaining that Bernstein made his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic on November 14, 1943. At Moseley's request, Bernstein recalls his first meeting with Copland, which took place on November 14, 1937, at a recital by dancer Anna Sokolow. They return to the program at hand as Mehta explains that Copland chose the music for this special salute. He then asks Bernstein about Copland's impact on the composer/conductor's generation of musicians, and Bernstein elaborates on Copland's ability to make "Americans feel American." The three agree that Copland is, in Moseley's words, "the most extraordinary kind of man." The next intermission conversation takes place between Watson and Francis Hodsoll, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Hodsoll discusses the rationale behind the NEA, including its mode of encouraging private funding for the arts. He and Watson also touch on the relationship between arts education and entertainment. The program then returns to the concert, where the Philharmonic plays the world premiere of "Proclamation for Orchestra," an orchestral adaptation of a 1982 Copland piano work arranged by Phillip Ramey. It is followed by the 1937 "Prairie Journal." The program concludes with "Symphony Number 1," which is in progress as the tape ends. Includes a promo. Continues with T:69362.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by The Edward John Noble Foundation.

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS
  • DATE: November 14, 1985 Thursday 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:33:26
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:69361
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Composers
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1976-
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Promos - "Live from Lincoln Center"

CREDITS

    • John Goberman … Producer
    • Karen McLaughlin … Associate Producer
    • Marc Bauman … Production (Misc.), Production Manager
    • Steve Garfinkel … Production (Misc.), Production Assistant
    • Peter Maresca … Production (Misc.), Production Assistant
    • Jim Misner … Production (Misc.), Production Assistant
    • Kirk Browning … Director
    • Alan Skog … Direction (Misc.), Associate Director
    • Frank O'Connell … Direction (Misc.), Technical Director
    • Aaron Copland … Composer
    • Phillip Ramey … Music (Misc. Credits), Arranger
    • Zubin Mehta … Conductor
    • Leonard Bernstein … Conductor, Conductor Laureate
    • New York Philharmonic, The … Symphony Orchestra
    • Bennett Lerner … Instrumentalist, Pianist
    • Glenn Dicterow … Instrumentalist, Concertmaster
    • Patrick Watson … Host
    • Martin Bookspan … Announcer
    • Francis Hodsoll … Guest
    • Carlos Moseley … Guest
    • Nadia Boulanger
    • de Mille, Agnes
    • Serge Koussevitsky
    • Anna Sokolow
    • Virgil Thomson
    • Paul Whiteman