Montreal-based Constantinople Ensemble is a group of musicians who chose the journey, not only geographical, but also historical, cultural, temporal, and inner, as their cornerstone, drawing inspiration from all sources and aiming for distant horizons. To the cynic this vision will sound trite. But unlike so many in the world of contemporary art music , the Constantinople Ensemble under their music director Kiya Tabassian put their music where their mouth is. Their recently-released album In the Footsteps of Rumi on the innovative Glossa label may be predictable in subject matter. But the core ensemble of setar (Persian lute), kanun (Turkish zither), percussion, and baroque violin and viola d'amore is far from predictable. For the exquisite Rumi settings in Persian and Arabic they are joined by Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali in an album that provides a refreshingly astute viewpoint on the over-exposed Rumi . Even further off the predictability scale is the Cons
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...