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 / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    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