listening log #3: Copland’s “El Salon Mexico” (blog post 7)

Music:

  • combination of monophony, heterophony, polyphony
  • displacement of rhythms
  • implementation of traditional folk songs (El Palo Verde, La Jesusita, El Mosco)
  • use of hemiolas, changing meter
  • instrumentation: strings, winds, percussion, brass, piano
  • embellishment, ornamentation, eg: clarinet solos

Structure:

  • Introduction: unusually long, introduction of folk songs-individually, changing tempos
  • Development: exploration of themes, folk songs, rhythmic & melodic changes, fragmentation, sequences, ostinatos
  • Coda: increased intensity from heavy use of brass, loud dynamics (eg: fortississimo), closely related to introduction, opening figure in high voices

Context:

  • Aaron Copland was American composer, typified American music
  • also wrote “Billy the Kid”, “AppalachianĀ Spring”, “Fanfare for the Common Man”
  • written after visiting Mexico in 1932 for first all-Copland orchestral concert, invited by Carlo Chavez
  • impressed by Mexico and inspired to compose by culture and peoples
  • based on nightclub “El Salon Mexico” that he visited, wanted to show culture beyond tourist view, “one felt a really live contact with the Mexican people”
  • premiered in 1937 in Mexico City
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