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Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ Gets a Closer Look
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Friday, May 13, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Sun Valley audiences have had countless opportunities to hear Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” presented by the Sun Valley Music Festival.

But they have not perhaps had the opportunity to hear the story behind this iconic piece.

J Dominic, author of the 2016 novel “Reaching Montaup,” will tell that story in a presentation titled “Appalachian BRIDGE”: A New Pathway to Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” The program will be in person only at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Ketchum’s Community Library.

As Dominic tells it, Copland and dance choreographer Martha Graham collaborated on the score for a ballet. But Graham changed the ballet’s title from Copland’s “Ballet for Martha” to “Appalachian Spring,” which she says she found in a poem after Copland competed the score.

But Copland said Hart Crane’s “The Bridge” was the basis for the script before the music was written. The poem was inspired by New York’s Brooklyn Bridge which Crane could view from his home. It runs through American history from Columbus’ voyage to Pocahontas to the fictional character Rip Van Winkle.

Dominic will merge Copland’s music with a portion of the lyric poem “The Bridge” during his presentation.

Dominic, who lives in Boise, wrote his thesis on the subject. He went on to teach English and drama for 25 years.

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