American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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A Ballet for Martha

Appalachian Spring
Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring
Holograph score, 1943-44
Music Division

Appalachian Spring, with music by Aaron Copland and choreography by Martha Graham, was commissioned by and first performed at the Library in 1944. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. Described by Graham as having "to do with roots in so far as people can express them without telling an actual story" it had a complex birth. Copland received three different scripts from Graham before beginning what he called his "Ballet for Martha" (Graham gave it the current title). When she heard the music, Graham decided to redo the action yet again. So, finally, there is no "script" for Appalachian Spring -- only the dance.

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