The Qobuz Ideal Discography
While there are plenty of other dandy recordings of Copland's populist magnum opus Appalachian Spring, this 1959 recording may be the one to get if you're getting only one. For one thing, it has Copland conducting, and while he was not the world's greatest conductor, he was the world's greatest authority on his own music and it shows in his conducting, which, for all its lack of experience and technique, is unsurpassed in insight and lucidity. More to the point, he was the world's greatest admirer of his own music and it shows in his interpretation, which for all its tendency toward sentimentality, is unequaled in affection and sympathy. Plus, Copland is immeasurably helped by the unrivaled playing of the Boston Symphony, which not only plays with more beauty of tone and strength of purpose than it had in the past 50 years, it plays with nearly as much affection and sympathy for the music as Copland himself. Furthermore, RCA's "Living Stereo" sound is every bit as warm and rich and detailed as the best recordings made in the past 50 years. The other music on the disc -- Copland's dappled yellow and brown The Tender Land Suite, Morton Gould's blood-red New England Elektra Fall River Legend, plus Gould's two south of the border encores Tango and Guaracha -- is dandy, but Copland's own 1959 Appalachian Spring is the dandiest.