program notes by composition > Q > Quiet City

Quiet City

Aaron Copland/arr. Donald Hunsberger
John Hagstrom, trumpet soloist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra ( November 8, 2009 )
Scott Hostetler, English horn soloist, Chicago Symphony Orchestra ( November 8, 2009 )

Quiet City is a play by Irwin Shaw and a well-known composition for trumpet and English horn by Aaron Copland. The play focused on two main characters: A young Jewish boy, awestruck by the steely modernity of his city environment, yet still profoundly in touch with his own feelings and heritage; and a poor, dispossessed, and lonely man, for whom the city provides no refuge.

The music begins and ends with a depiction of the still night air of the slumbering city invoked by the improvisatory sounds of the trumpeter, with the English horn portraying the homeless man. While the spaciousness of Copland's musical textures has often been compared to the vastness of the American landscape, Quiet City is emblematic of an urban, internalized facet of Americana.

Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was an American composer and an accomplished pianist. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composi- tion in a broad range of works for concert hall, theater, ballet, and films.

Last updated on July 18, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band