Recording of December 1982: Copland: Orchestral Works

COPLAND: Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Louis Lane, cond.
Telarc Digital DG-10078 (LP). Robert Woods, prod., Jack Renner, eng. DAA. TT: 44:11.

I predict that this Fanfare for the Common Man will suffer the same fate as the opening measures of Also Sprach Zarathustra. The impact of the opening brass and tympani is stupendous. Even when I know it is coming, I tend to leap from my chair in surprise. All audiophile copies of this disc will become grey and worn on Band One of Side One.

Audiophile impact aside, please don't neglect the other two works on this disc. Both Rodeo and Appalachian Spring receive excellent interpretations, and they too contain sufficient brass and drum to excite a jaded audiophile.

Although recorded with a distant perspective—it was recorded in Atlanta Symphony Hall on May 24, 1982, using Schoeps Colette microphones and a Soundstream digital recorder—this disc does not sound as remote as the Telarc recording of Poulenc's Gloria (also reviewed in this issue), and despite some vagueness of image, at least the instruments seem to be in the proper place. The reproduction of the brass and tympani is excellent. As usual I heard some hardness to the massed strings, but as they are not a predominant part of most of the music, it wasn't very off-putting. If you don't have a copy of this music be sure to get this edition. The performances are excellent, and it must be rated "Top-of-the-Pile."—Margaret Graham

BradleyP's picture

Telarc first opened my ears to the fact that some labels engineer much better recordings than others and got me started in this hobby thereby. My Telarc CDs are among my most treasured, especially Rachmaninoff's All Night Vigil, The 1812 Overture with (warning!) digital cannons, and The Golden Men of Jazz live recordings. Thank you, Telarc!

Axiom05's picture

Maazel's Pictures at an Exhibition is always an enjoyable listen.

volvic's picture

Out of my many versions of Appalachian Spring this is my favourite, love it. Should also mention how I enjoyed Lane's version of Pines of Rome on the Telarc label. Also concur with BradleyP; Rachmaninoff's Vespers with Robert Shaw is a beautifully performed recording, shaming all my other versions. Lots of great recordings made in the 70's and 80's on the Telarc label including Maazel with Tchaikovsky's 4th and Mussorgsky's Pic at an Exhibition. Good Stuff wish I was home listening and not in the office today.

Lofty's picture

Margaret Graham: a pseudonym for J.Gordon Holt's wife.

Anon2's picture

Amazing how almost no article on recommended recordings on Stereophile passes without bringing up very fond memories on the heyday recordings of Telarc.

The Fanfare for the Common Man is a reference track among the best. There is an incredible vividness, dynamic range and detail in this short work. The age old "Telarc Warning" about how audio equipment-- "even the finest"--may be put to the test certainly applies to this track.

Look for a used copy if the CD is out of circulation. If you want something similar from Telarc, look for the Erich Kunzel recording with the themes from the Magnificent Seven and Silverado. Again, excellent sound and dynamics.

Great recommendation.

hollowman's picture

Haven't heard the Telarc yet.
Hard to beat this Zinman/Baltimore SO compilation, tho':