Aaron Copland

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Aaron Copland (November 14 1900December 2 1990) was an American composer of concert and film music. Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, he was widely known as “the dean of American composers.”

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Aaron Copland

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  • "For me, the most important thing is the element of chance that is built into a live performance. The very great drawback of recorded sound is the fact that it is always the same. No matter how wonderful a recording is, I know that I couldn't live with it--even of my own music--with the same nuances forever." Quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music, ISBN 0028645812
  • "I hope my recordings of my own works won't inhibit other people's performances. The brutal fact is that one doesn't always get the exact tempo one wants, although one improves with experience." Quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music, ISBN 0028645812
  • "If the listener does eventually come to the point where he makes the ultimate performance by splicing tapes from other musicians' recordings, he will eventually become just as bored with it as with other recordings, for it will still always be the same. Look, for instance, at electronic music. The boys are already becoming bored with what they do because they put it irrevocably on tape. The best indication of this is that more and more they are mixing the live performance element with their tapes." Quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music, ISBN 0028645812
  • "I object to background music no matter how good it is. Composers want people to listen to their music, they don't want them doing something else while their music is on. I'd like to get the guy who sold all those big businessmen the idea of putting music in the elevators, for he was really clever. What on earth good does it do anybody to hear those four or eight bars while going up a few flights." Quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music, ISBN 0028645812

"I adore extravagance but I abhor waste." Quoted in Aaron Copland: the Life and Work of an Uncommon Man, ISBN 0805049096

"I don't compose. I assemble materials." Quoted in Aaron Copland: the Life and Work of an Uncommon Man, ISBN 0805049096

"Somehow, suddenly, a musical idea occurs to you; either a whole phrase, or three notes, or a series of chords, something that seems pregnant with possibilities for development. Once you have the kinds of ideas that fascinate you, you're no longer in a position to decide the nature of the animal. It's going to take its essence from the musical ideas that occur to you....Some musical ideas are too short, they don't seem long enough to carry you through ten minutes of music, so you have to start searching about for other ideas; contrasting ones that seem to fit with the original ones." Quoted in Aaron Copland: the Life and Work of an Uncommon Man, ISBN 0805049096

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