Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to Minna Lederman, October 6, 1944.
Download: ( Complete: Full Text )
Oct. 6, 1944.
If this reply seems late, try to remember that your letter, mailed on the 26th, only reached here two days ago. I hope this one goes a bit faster so that my measly suggestions may be of some help for issue no. I.
I do feel kind of swamped by the variety of questions you fling at me. Don't forget that I am rather rusty -- not having been in the center of activities for a good many months. So -- take all this for what its worth:
1. About Latin America: I don't get the impression that very much has been happening in Mexico. Still if you want a round-up of events I'd suggest you ask Salvador Moreno. He's a young composer in the Chavez camp, a Mexican of Spanish antecedents. He's bright and amusing, and has recently been writing criticism for one of the Mexican dailies. The catch is that he is ill at the moment with some sort of eye disease, and I have no way of knowing whether he will be up to turning out an article right away. He can be addressed care of the Orquesta Sinfonica.
I recently had news of a new "Grupo Renovacion Musical" that has been formed in Cuba. They gave two concerts of works by the new generation of composers. I doubt whether the works are very significant, but I think its worth reporting on. José Ardévol could write an article about it. You could address him care of the Grupo at Compostela 156, altos, La Habana, Cuba.
Argentina's season is just over and I think we ought to have a report on the new works introduced. It could be written by Roberto Garcia Morillo, who is assistant critic on La Nacion of Buenos Aires. You can write him care of that paper.
From Chile I think you might have a study of Domingo Santa Cruz' new Piano Concerto. I spoke with Arrau here and he seemed very impressed by it. Santa Cruz writes the sort of music that analyses well. The article should have some musical illustrations. I think you could take a chance again on young Juan Orrego, who once flopped on a round-up of the season. This is more in his line, I think. Write him care of Santa Cruz, if you don't have his own address in the files.
From Brazil I think Carleton S[prague] Smith ought to have a thousand words inside him about life on Sao Paulo, where I understand he is cultural attache to our consulate. Also I have just heard that Everett Helm, a young composer pupil of Piston, is being sent down to Brazil on a travel grant from the State Dep't to "write a book about Brazilian music." You might contact him for a piece for a later issue. His US address is: 702 East 17 St., Santa Ana, Cal. I don't know whether he is still there or has already left for Brazil.
I also wish that we could have a note from Montevideo but I don't know who could write it. Even Curt Lange has left, and is now living in Brazil. My only idea would be to write to the Uruguayan pianist Hugo Balzo, care of the S.O.D.R.E. Orchestra in Montevideo, and he undoubtedly could suggest someone intelligent for the job.
If you want something from Lima why not go back to the man who wrote so amusingly last time. Wasn't it Raygada?
2. About Europe: The only composer I've heard about is in Rome. He is Nino Rota, who once studied at Curtis and is a good friend of Sam Barber. (Barber would supply his address.) I'm not sure of the kind of article he'd write -- he's the delicate rather than the forceful type; but I know he's gone through a lot, and recently communicated with Barber.
I should think that one good source for material would now be Switzerland, since they'd know more than before, and would probably be more ready to tell what they know. But I don't have names to suggest.
As for Paris I'm stumped. Why don't you ask Milhaud if he doesn't know of someone who could write for you. You might even persuade Poulenc to say what it was like, since according to TIME, he wasn't a collaborator.
Too bad about London being such a pain in the neck. But I think its time that Marc came across with a piece. Or you might even attack Benjamin Britten again. After all, he once wrote for you. I don't have other ideas because most of the younger men are in the Army now -- fellows like Humphrey Searle or Henry Boys. If you are desperate you might ask Erwin Stein, who works in an editorial capacity for Boosey & Hawkes' London office. He's an experienced writer but I don't know how unbiased. (Heinsheimer would probably be willing to discuss his capabilities frankly with you.) Theres another fellow in the B&H office by the name of Campbell -- forgotten his first name. He also has written -- but he's a rabid Bloch fan, and I don't know whether anything else pleases him. Heinsheimer would know about him too.
For a stab in the dark about Brussels, you might ask Desire Defauw whether he knows of any musician in Belgium capable of writing for you.
I wish we had someone in Spain who could send some dope. I'll ask Salazar whether he has any suggestions about that.
3. About the Harris article by Evett, I'm all for it. Everybody knows that Roy has a harmonic system, and nobody knows what it is. It should be an article with illustrations that completely satisfies the curiosity.
4. About the Portrait series: if you are to have Quincy Porter don't have Hans Nathan do it. He's a dyed in the wool European and I don't think Quincy would like being written up by him. Douglas [Moore?] would know whom to suggest for Quincy. For a new name in the series I'd be for an article on Burrill Phillips' work. I think its significant, and has character. Robert Palmer knows the work well, but whether he can organize an article about it I don't know.
5. I have heard the new Sonata for 2 pianos of Stravinsky. Its a charming but slight work. Whether it rates a whole separate article for itself I doubt, but if you're hard up for material it would pass. I don't happen to know Prof. Tangeman.
6. About correspondents from American cities: Boston should be written up by Irving Fine of the Harvard Music faculty. They've had a new Hindemith Uraufführung during the summer. Also private hearings of new piano works by Harold Shapero. Fine is fine for those things. His address: 15 Everett St., Cambridge 38, Mass. (There were other things too, of course.) I think Persichetti is OK from Philie, but have nobody better to suggest from Pittsburgh and Cleveland than the people you already know. When I am in Washington I'll keep my eye open for somebody to recommend from there.
I assume you'll be writing up the Musicians' Congress concerts on the campus of UCLA, in Sept.
7. About general articles my mind is blank, mostly because I have had little contact with musicians these last months, and therefore no stimulation. Why not try to get Sam Barber to write an article. His last symphony showed him to be getting less stuffy. He is very articulate with the pen and might have something he wants to write about. Anyway, I'm sure he would like being asked.
Later on I might want to do one myself -- something about the men who have come "back from the wars." A kind of welcome home article that would give them a send-off into civilian life. But its too soon yet -- so forget it. [in ink]: (Just an idea, anyhow!)
I'm planning to fly up to Washington for the Coolidge Festival and then on home to N.Y. No one has seen a public announcement of the event, but Spivacke keeps saying it will come off at the end of Oct. In any case I am coming back then. Thats just around the corner so theres no sense in prolonging this already long letter.
I sent a letter to Claire [Reis] urging her to close up shop at the end of this season. I haven't heard her reaction, but am curious.
Glad you've been writing and selling things. But what things??
I leave Tepoztlan and the primitive life on the 23rd, and I ought to be back in New York by Nov. 1st.
Love and all that,