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The Promise of Living from The Tender Land Suite Aaron Copland Born on November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn,

New York Died on December 2, 1990 in Sleepy Hollow, New York

Blessed with an uncanny ability to capture the spirit of the American heartland, Aaron Copland is widely regarded as the quintessential American composer. His claim to fame came through a trilogy of ballets Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942), and Appalachian Spring (1944) that collectively catapulted him to the forefront of distinctly American music. In early 1952, Copland accepted a $1,000 commission to compose a piece in commemoration of the League of Composers 30th anniversary. The resulting opera (which proved to be Coplands only fulllength opera) tells the coming-of-age story of Laurie, a Midwestern farm girl during the Great Depression who falls in love with a drifter named Martin. It was originally conceived for television performance, but the New York City Opera premiered the work on April 2, 1954, to a less-thanenthusiastic reception. In response to the mixed reviews, Copland arranged the full score of the opera into an orchestral suite. Copland co-autobiographer Vivian Perlis recounts that this was not an uncommon practice among composers and remarks that Copland would often take the best music from failed project and incorporate it into something else, hoping for a longer shelf life. Extracting a new arrangement from the opera was no easy task, however, and Copland faced a dilemma in how to preserve the sense of dialogue within the original vocal quintet. Yet, through brilliant orchestration, Copland transcended this challenge, and The Tender Land Suite was dubbed a resounding success. The Promise of Living is the third movement of the adapted suite. It begins with a lyrical string passage. A cast of woodwinds gradually interject, and the strings reemerge with repeated motifs that build to a huge climax of open harmonies. At the apex, the brass choir joins in a chorale, creating an extraordinary musical moment that culminates with the sparkling chime of orchestral bells.

Think of the piece as a song of thanksgiving; cherish the promise that every community can be strengthened through the display of love for our neighbors. The Promise of Living is scored for strings, piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, clarinet, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (glockenspiel and crash cymbals), harp, piano, and celesta. Jonathan Chen Percussion