James Sedares and the Phoenix Symphony make a strong argument that Copland’s film music and opera suites are every bit as masterful as his most famous works. These works are coupled with Eduard Brunner’s atmospheric performance of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto.
“James Sedares brilliantly conducts The Phoenix Symphony with panache, and in the recording of the Clarinet Concerto, the Bavarian Radio Symphony sounds like an American ensemble under the leadership of Ur Schneider with the German clarinetist Edward Brunner riffing up a storm. The Alto recording as so many of this label’s releases by this label boasts impeccably engineering and intelligent liner notes.”-Rafael de Acha, All About the Arts
“Swiss clarinettist Eduard Brunner delivers an electrifying performance of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, bringing all the requisite bitter-sweet lyricism to its opening movement and relishing the highly-charged virtuosity of the incredibly taxing cadenza and jazzy finale. The Bavarian Radio Symphony are superbly responsive partners, and the early-1990s recording has great Copland presence. The rest of the album features energetic performances from the Phoenix Symphony of suites from the opera The Tender Land and the distinctive film score for The Red Pony, both works inhabiting a similar soundworld to Copland’s much better-known ballet, Appalachian Spring.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐-Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine, December 2023
“Copland [in ‘The Red Pony’ is] displaying his simple gifts for the ready folk-tune and here the Phoenix woodwinds have what it takes. … It was interesting re-hearing his ‘Tender Land’ suite. So skillful is Copland’s orchestral transcription that one might easily be lulled into thinking this had been conceived solely for orchestra. As trumpets signal a new dawn over the open prairies, Laurie and Martin’s love blossoms in some of his most generous music outside ‘Appalachian Spring’. That evocative solo trumpet again leads the emotional surge. No problems with the barn dancing ‘Party Scene’. This is Steinbeck country just as surely as is ‘The Red Pony’. [James ]Sedares leads a spirited rendition, his warm and willing woodwinds stealing the honours.”Gramophone