EMI has really found a great formula for the creation of a good compilation album. Rather than relying on a smattering of mediocre performances of individual movements, EMI puts together two CDs of generally great performances of entire works, giving a much more complete and varied look at a composer's oeuvre. This collection of Copland focuses largely on music composed originally for the ballet. The music from Billy the Kid, one of Copland's earlier works, is infused with quotations of "Cowboy Songs" and western "sound effects" that only a composer like Copland could successfully pull off while maintaining the work's integrity as art music. A strong performance by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin only serves to highlight the idiomatic characteristics of the suite. St. Louis offers similarly masterful performances of two other ballet suites: Appalachian Spring and Rodeo. Also on the disc are vibrant displays by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Eduardo Mata performing the Danzón Cubano and El salón México. The only disappointing, lackluster track is the Philharmonic Orchestra of the City of Mexico performing what might be one of Copland's most recognizable compositions: Fanfare for the Common Man. The execution is simply too straightlaced and safe. Apart from that, this album would make an excellent introduction to this great American composer.