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American Spring


Ian Scarfe full profile / 9 strings, piano flute clarinet bassoon / 14 musicians

Other players: Sam Weiser, Stephanie Bibbo, Theo Espy, Stephen Fine, Evan Kahn, Joseph Howe, Gina Gulyas, Jamael Smith, Matthew Boyles, Sam Reider

Full program notes

Sam Reider - Trinity Alps Summer (world-premiere)
Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring (original 13-instrument version)

Historical context

Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" was written in 1944 originally as a "Ballet for Martha", and the interesting scoring for a small 13-piece chamber orchestra was to help Martha Graham's dance company take the ballet on tour.

The music was extraordinarily popular from the outset, winning the Pulitzer Prize the next year. Its structure of alternating dreamy, impressionistic harmonies and motives with rhythmic dances in the "American Folk Style" keeps the listener on the edge of their seat. Its recognizably "American Classical" harmonies mark it with Copland's signature sound, and the appearance of the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" creates a poignant and dramatic ending.

Sam Reider, a San Francisco native, trained as a classical pianist, jazz pianist, and folk accordionist at various points in his musical career. He will bring all of those style together in his own new composition, written as a commission from the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival.

Sam and the musicians spent a week during the summer of 2023 in the spectacular Trinity Alps of Northern California, arranging, rehearsing, and performing music as part of the Festival's annual tour of North-State California communities.

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