Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Friday, November 1

Copland breaks in a new pony

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1948, Maestro Efrem Kurtz led the first subscription concert of the newly reorganized Houston Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra was founded in 1913, but after struggling through the “minor” disruptions of two World Wars and the Great Depression, the symphony’s 1948 season marked its rebirth as a major player among American orchestras. Since then, the Houston Symphony’s roster of conductors has included some of the greatest: Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli, André Previn, to name just a few.

For its 1948 debut concert, the new Houston Symphony commissioned and premiered a new work by Aaron Copland—a concert suite adapted from his latest film score.

Copland had gone to Hollywood early in 1948 to write the music for the cinematic version of John Steinbeck’s novella, “The Red Pony,” and spent ten weeks writing about an hour’s worth of music for the new film, which was scheduled for release in 1949—so that meant his 1948 concert suite from “The Red Pony” debuted even before the movie.

The Houston Post’s review called Copland’s suite “clean, joyous, ingenious and irresistibly spirited,” and correctly predicted “Mr. Copland’s ‘Red Pony’ has grand little gaits, and will stand playing again—here and in a lot of other places.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Aaron Copland (1900-1990) The Red Pony Suite Dallas Symphony; Andrew Litton, cond. Delos 3221

Additional Information

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