Aaron Copland is known for creating a quintessential sound reminiscent of the American Frontier. The ballet Appalachian Spring was commissioned by American choreographer Martha Graham and pianist Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge in 1942. It's the story of a spring celebration of American pioneers in the 19th century. Copland's scoring paints a vivid picture of the American west, including the Shaker song "Simple Gifts." Many of the melodies in Appalachian Spring are heavily referenced in pop culture, like movies and TV commercials. Copland's lush, open orchestrations will wash over the listener and invoke a hint of nostalgia for times gone by.
Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor is the only concerto he ever completed, yet remains one of the most popular piano concerti of all time. The listener may find similarities between Grieg and Schumann's respective piano concerti, as Schumann's style greatly influenced Grieg. The opening lines indicate Grieg's interest in Norwegian folk music. Later in the piece, similarities to the halling (a Norwegian folk dance) and imitations of the Hardanger fiddle (Norwegian folk fiddle) are present. Its virtuosic intensity and dramatic melodies are sure to leave the audience breathless with excitement.
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