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The Red Pony Film Suite
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

One of the best "A" films to emerge from Republic studios, The Red Pony (1949) is a vivid, beautifully assembled adaptation of the John Steinbeck story of the same name. Stars in the film include Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, and Peter Miles. A lonely farm boy seeks refuge from his troublesome home life and his eternally squabbling parents through his devotion to a newborn colt. The red pony is the issue of a prize mare owned by the ranchhand the boy idolizes. The film's coming-of-age theme is well-detailed, culminating in an almost unbearably poignant denouement. Aaron Copland's symphonic score is right in tune with the florid direction of Lewis Milestone and the rich Technicolor photography of Tony Gaudio. The Red Pony was remade for television in 1973.

Aaron Copland was born on November 14, 1900 in New York City. His musical works ranged from ballet and orchestral music to choral music and movie scores. For the better part of four decades Aaron Copland was considered the premier American composer.

Copland's growth as a composer mirrored important trends of his time. After his return from Paris he worked with jazz rhythms in his "Piano Concerto" (1926). His "Piano Variations" (1930) was strongly influenced by Igor Stravinsky's Neoclassicism. In 1936 he changed his orientation toward a simpler style. He felt this made his music more meaningful to the large music-loving audience being created by radio and the movies. His most important works during this period were based on American folk lore including "Billy the Kid" (1938) and "Rodeo" (1942). Other works during this period were a series of movie scores including "Of Mice and Men" (1938) and "The Heiress" (1948). In his later years Copland's work reflected the serial techniques of the so-called 12-tone school of Arnold Schoenberg. Notable among these was "Connotations" (1962) commissioned for the opening of Lincoln Center.