Aaron Copland

Symphony No. 2 ("Short Symphony")

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    The title reflects the fifteen-minute length of this one-movement work. It is a tightly integreated composition of 1932-1933, the years when Copland was nearing the end of his first mature creative period. The orchestration of the work is also small-scale; doing without a full-sized brass section, Copland here is less brash-sounding than in other works of this time. The music has a high degree of rhythmic flexibility. In fact, the rhythms in it are so complex that it was rejected by the Boston Symphony Orchestra as being too difficult. (It was premiered by Carlos Chavez in Mexico City.) This is not the broad and expansive Copland of Billy the Kid or Appallachian Spring. Although the music is smooth-sounding and not difficult to listen to, it is also rather cerebral, much given to motive development and rhythmic innovations. Because it was not receiving orchestral performances, Copland recast the Short Symphony in 1937 as a Sextet, in which form it is also highly successful.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Incisivo
    2. Espressivo
    3. Presto e ritmico

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon
    2016 Chandos CHSA 5171
    2010 Guild 2347
    2009 Nimbus 2545
    2008 Naxos 8559359
    2000 RCA Red Seal 63720
    1996 RCA 68541
    1996 RCA 68292
    1991 Sony Classical 47232
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon
    Deutsche Grammophon 427335
    Pro-Arte Records 3429
    MusicMasters 67101