In 1935 Aaron Copland finished a new orchestral work that was to be premiered by the Minneapolis Symphony and its young conductor Eugene Ormandy.
The work was entitled “Statements for Orchestra,” and consisted of six short movements, each with a descriptive title, namely: “Militant,” “Cryptic,” “Dogmatic,” “Subjective,” “Jingo,” and “Prophetic.” The “Jingo” movement alludes to the popular tune “Sidewalks of New York” – where Copland completed the orchestration of his new score.
The last two movements were premiered by the Minneapolis Symphony early in 1936, first on an NBC radio broadcast, then on one of the orchestra’s subscription concerts. The conductor, however, was not Ormandy but rather Dimitri Mitropoulos, who would become the Music Director of the Minneapolis Symphony the following year. And it was Mitropoulos who would lead the first COMPLETE performance of all six of Copland’s “Statements” on today’s date in 1942 during a concert by the New York Philharmonic.
The new piece got good reviews, and Copland quoted with pride one given by his friend and colleague Virgil Thomson, which called the music “succinct and stylish, cleverly written and very, very personal …“
Much to Copland’s surprise this music never really caught on with orchestras or audiences. “To my disappointment,” wrote Copland, “Statements remains one of my lesser-known scores.”
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