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I’m listening to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring right now. I’ve forgotten how beautiful a piece of music it is, and the recording I’m listening to is sub-par at best complete with the sounds of a page turning about two-thirds of the way through. I think that says something, though not about my ability to find a good recording of something. A good recording of this will have strings of silk backing up woodwinds played as though by the trees themselves.

The whole piece just feels like a day in the life somewhere, or even here. It starts quiet and slow, very serene. Then builds to some busy-ness that again evens out a little. Then the theme of serenity has it’s own disparity of a minor turn. All of it building to the now legendary Shaker melody in the clarinet, ending with a return to the beginning.

Where Western music as we know it relies mostly on triads built on major and minor thirds to form chords, Copland played in the realm of perfect fourths and fifths (though the thirds are fairly unavoidable for anyone from the West). As such, his music has the flavor of an Otherworld or mysticism hidden within the ordinary sounds of the orchestra.

It’s quite spectacular. If you have the chance to hear it, I suggest taking it.

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