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Release: Oct. 27, 2000

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Coelho is pronounced QUAIL-yo. Tadeu is pronounced tah-DAY-oo)

University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra will feature faculty in 'Appalachian Spring' Nov. 12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra will feature four faculty players in a performance of Aaron Copland’s popular "Appalachian Spring" Suite, one of two works on a short concert under the direction of William LaRue Jones, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, which will also feature Johannes Brahms’ Variations of a theme of Joseph Haydn, op. 56a, will be free and open to the public. Featured faculty players in the Copland will be Tadeu Coelho, flute; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Benjamin Coelho, bassoon; and Shari Rhoads, piano.

Copland is one of the most popular and recognizably American composers of the 20th century. He is especially known for works written with distinct and deliberate American traits, including both jazz and folk-music elements. In the late 1930s and 1940s he wrote a series of ballets with American folk themes, including "Billy the Kid" and "Rodeo." The most popular of these was "Appalachian Spring," written for the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1944 and premiered that year in Washington, D.C.

Although most of Copland’s musical Americana is freshly composed in a style that only sounds like folk music, "Appalachian Spring" incorporates one familiar melody, the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts." The score was a hit from the beginning, and the suite from the ballet remains one of the most popular orchestral pieces of the 20th century.

Brahms, who always had an interest in musical history, was acquainted with one of the first biographers of Joseph Haydn, Carl Ferdinand Pohl. In 1870 Pohl showed Brahms a set of six unpublished divertimentos attributed to Haydn, and in one of the movements, labeled "Chorale St. Antoni," Brahms found a theme that was ideal for variation treatment. This soon became the basis of his first major orchestral work, the "Variations on a theme of Joseph Haydn," composed in 1873.

Brahms put the theme through a sequence of eight brilliant episodes, showcasing nearly every section of the orchestra, and capped by a finale that is majestic in expression and concise in its proportions.

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