Appalachian Spring (includes Simple Gifts)
Aaron Copland


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The highest of Copland's 3 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 69 in 2003.

This all-American work was written for ballet choreographer and dancer Martha Graham (indeed, the original name on the score is Ballet for Martha).

The ballet told the story of pioneer settlers establishing a homestead and interacting with the landscape around them. Oddly enough, the title and the ballet are unconnected, with Martha Graham opting to choose part of a poem called 'The Bridge' by the American poet Hart Crane. She deliberately misconstrued the meaning as being related to the season, rather than to the stream, which the poet had originally intended. Regardless, the ballet was a hit and Copland expanded his score for a full orchestra. Copland himself recorded the music, with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Martha Graham performing in the original 1944 production of Appalachian Spring.