Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to Carlos Chávez, July 28, 1967.
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July 28, 1967
Many thanks for having the Six Symphonies album sent to me. I've been having a regular Chavez Festival. What a pleasure to have all the Symphonies under one cover, and what a strong picture on the front of the album!
The piece I knew least well was the 3rd Symphony. It has all your independence of spirit and rugged honesty. It also has your 'ungrateful' side, but I suppose you don't even know what that is. I was particularly amused by the Scherzo, both because of the theme itself and the delightful orchestration. In fact, I laughed out loud when I heard it.
The Romantica doesn't seem so romantica to me. What happens is that one keeps looking for signs of what is suggested by the title, which is probably a mistake of the listener.
One is also very aware of the strong trend towards a classicizing tendency in the 5th and 6th. This insistence of yours sometimes sets up a sense of 'forcing' or strain, but I found the slow movement of the 6th very simpatico.
I have a definite weakness (and always have had) for the Antigona. (I once conducted it in rehearsal with the Baltimore Symphony and hope to program it before long.) I am a little surprised at your opening tempo of the India. Is it possible you have gotten faster with the years? Unless my memory fools me, I seem to recall your taking the tempo somewhat slower in the 30's. This is exactly the opposite of what generally happens when one gets older!
What a job it must have been to prepare the orchestra and get it all down on tape; but it must be a great satisfaction to have it completed.
I hope you get to New York in early September. I'll be here until the 16th. The New York premiere of my new piece is scheduled for Oct. 19. Since I will still be in Europe at that time, I hope to catch one of the last two performances on the 23rd or 25th. I have decided to call it Inscape for Orchestra, a title borrowed from the English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Let me know when you have made your travel plans.
P.S. Mills has just sent me the printed copies of the Sonatas for Four Horns and Tambuco. Many thanks.