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Collection Aaron Copland Collection

Tribute to Aaron Copland

Does the celebration of an anniversary impose on us the burdensome weight of accumulated years, or is it every year a kind of rebirth? As times elapses, new aims, new means are found, unspoiled by evolution. Aaron Copland gives a vivid example of this duality.

[detail] Aaron Copland, Nadia Boulanger, Walter Piston at the Old France restaurant, Boston, 1945. Music Division, Library of Congress.

In 1921 I had the privilege to see entering a young boy, slim, with his acute face, his so defined behavior, his "listening" eyes, his "seeing" ear, his juvenile unique laugh (kept until today) a musician, a poet, a real human being already.

I remember vividly this extraordinary impression. Impression one gets only when facing the ones marked by "the sign": every gesture, every expression, every form of activity is revealing and displayed in music as well as in life.

The time of celebration does not imply, for me, a time for analysis and I will not make the imprudence to try to define the art of Aaron Copland. During these years, works after works have come out, giving light to this variety and this similarity.

He has also kept the marvelous power to remain young, ardent, violent at his hours, warm always, carried away by his astounding rhythmical strength.

Highly qualified writers have written enlightening books on Copland's works, but here is only without the slightest pretention to add a stone to these learned tributes, the affectionate testimony of his oldest friend, wishing him to continue to create new images while remaining on his always open goal.

By Nadia Boulanger