My personal overgrown path is leading back to the radio studio, and that has set me thinking recently about how to create programmes that are distinctive, inclusive and personal. Over in Holland the creator of Big Brother , Endemol , has its own formula for distinctive broadcasting, and this week launches De Grote Donorshow ( The Big Donor Show ) which gives three dialysis patients the chance to win a dying woman's kidney - or not. Back in 1969 Glenn Gould took a different approach to producing great broadcasting when he created his 'contrapuntal radio documentary' The Latecomers . The main subject was the new Canadian province of Newfoundland , but there was a second subject of solitude, isolation and non-conformity seen from a cultural perspective. The Latecomers , with its basso continuo of the ocean, is both a land-mark in twentieth-century broadcasting and a seriously neglected aspect of Gould's work. Now, thanks to reader Walt Santner, you can hear the whole
And Andrew, it sounds like you're not familiar with "Simple Gifts" or Copland. It has the same melody as "Lord of the Dance." It's a nice tune and ever since Copland used it in Appalachian Spring it has always had a special place in Americana.
It's possibly one of the most American pieces of music there is -- something written by an American, for Americans.
It was a perfect and appropriate tune to arrange for the occasion. The text is as follows:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight
'Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Our musical tradition was built and developed around religious music -- Puritan hymns, Shaker hymns, shaped Note hymn singing, spirituals, etc. There is a certain American "sound" or style that is embodied in Copland, and it is the direct influence of the music on which the US was built.
While there are many Big Names in the classical music tradition from the US, the true representatives of our musical culture are composers like Alice Parker, Moses Hogan, H.T. Burleigh, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and yes, Copland.
Am I alone in being disturbed by how similar Williams's treatment of Simple Gifts to that of Copland? The first appearance of the tune in the clarinet in the same register; the lightly bustling accompaniment...