The second volume in Leonard Slatkin's series on Naxos of the ballets of Aaron Copland presents the seldom-played Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (1934) and the enormously popular Appalachian Spring (1944). The music for Hear Ye! Hear Ye! is rhythmically brusque, insistent, and expressively hard-edged, accompanying scenes of a murder in a Chicago nightclub and a courtroom trial with jazz-inflected dances and angular melodies pitted against strong dissonances. Most often heard as a suite, Appalachian Spring is offered here in its complete version, and it is the opposite of Hear Ye! Hear Ye! in its gentle evocation of nature and rural life. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra gives Slatkin emotionally appropriate performances of both works, emphasing the gritty urban ambience in Hear Ye! Hear Ye! and the naive sweetness of Appalachian Spring, all the while communicating Copland's special style of Americana without caricature. Listeners will find both performances engaging and memorable, though those who are easily startled should be aware of the loud gunshots in Scene XII and toward the end of Scene XVI in Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Hear Ye! Hear Ye!|