In Appalachian Spring, Copland presents a series of variations on the Shaker tune Simple Gifts. The music, illuminated by an inner glow of warmth and poignancy, has become the quintessential representative of American musical nationalism. Barber’s Violin Concerto reflects both the ingratiating melodic-Romantic style of his earlier compositions as well as the first intimations of a new, leaner approach; quite clearly divided between the first two lyrical movements and the explosively energetic finale. Realising that Porgy and Bess was too long, Gershwin cut down the score for its New York production and extracted a suite later entitled Catfish Row. It contains beloved passages such as Summertime and Bess, You Is My Woman as well as less familiar music.
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