Monday, August 30, 2010

Aaron Copland: The Red Pony (1949): Dream March and Circus Music New Philharmonia



By Nicholas Stix

The Red Pony is a beautiful picture that depends more on its music for its effect that any other movie, save perhaps for The Natural and Field of Dreams. I read somewhere that Copland composed over an hour of original music for the film, with only the opening and closing overlapping. Typically, when a movie today even has an original score, as opposed to a soundtrack reusing popular noise, it has a few recurring leitmotiv themes. E.g., in Forrest Gump, which I think has an excellent score, composer Alan Silvestri largely alternates three recurring themes: The sound of wonder (opening and closing); Forrest's broken heart; and Jenny's theme. Some sections (Forrest running across America) also have their own themes.

I read that The Red Pony was supposed ot be released in 1948, in which case Copland likely would have been nominated for best score, and would have had a very good chance of winning. Instead, the picture was delayed until 1949, the same year that The Heiress was released, and though Copland's score for the latter picture was butchered by the director or the studio, it still won the Oscar for best dramatic score. Like movie and music fans, the Academy appreciated Copland's brilliance. And though he worked on few movie scores, his influence on movie and TV music has been immense, seen through such composers as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and most of all, Elmer Bernstein who, I am convinced, composed his National Geographic theme as an "Ode to Copland, in Four Movements."

My thanks go out to acuario1002.


John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS, in Vernal, Utah said...


I follow your blog, and your blog is linked to my own.

You can resize that YOU TUBE video to properly fit on your blog.

First, remove the one you have posted.

Then, go to the YOU TUBE video, and copy the embedding code, just as you did before.

Change the numbers in the embedding code from whatever they are to "425" and "344", respectively.

Those size numbers are located near the beginning of the embedding code, and near the end of the embedding code, so you'll want to change the numbers in both places.

That's all there is to it.

Then, your readers will be able to access the "FULL SCREEN" button on the media player.

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

Nicholas said...

Thanks for the heads-up, John Robert!

I know exactly what you're saying, because you're the one who taught me how to do it, in the first place. And I had done the 425/344 thing, but only for the top numbers, forgetting to do the bottom set.

Wow, I can't believe you caught it so fast.

Thanks, again!

P.S. You've got some great music at your blog. I was listening to Braveheart there the other night.

Nicholas said...

P.S. I wasn't aware of the FULL SCREEN issue, until you mentioned it just now.