Aaron Copeland, The Ballet, Rodeo, Saturday Night Dance
From the Ballet Rodeo
By Aaron Copland
36” x 60” Oil on Canvas
From The Ballet “ Rodeo” - Saturday Night Waltz, Aaron Copland
When I painted this piece I did not know of the story associated below.
- One of three movements of Copland’s Ballet “RODEO” the original title was “Courting at Burnt Ranch.”
- Set on a cattle ranch in the American Southwest on a Saterday afternoon and evening, each character is a perfect type-Cowgirl, Head Wrangler and Roper.
- The 5/4 time of the waltz movement contains no folk material, but is composed by Copland in its entity.
- After a racaucous pause in the music depicting a Ranch House Party, loud and honkytonk in style, the music settles into a silent pause.
- A solo oboe sings a version of the old folk cowboy song “Goodbye Old Paint.”
- Then a quiet and reflective melody moves to a more spirited tempo as waltzing couples dance.
- In ” Rodeo” the character “Cowgirl,” a tomboy, cannot compete for the attentions of the cowboys next to the city girls in their pretty dresses, so remains at the dance alone.
- Cowgirl, thinks about her anger and choices quietly under the moon then leaves the Saturday Night Dance briefly only to return wearing a most beautiful white dress…as the story goes.
- Before closing to interrupted measures of a climax and conclusion to the musical picture painted by Copland, a happy ending results with Cowgirl in her beautiful new make-over, white dress and sash, as Head Wrangler delights in her new look and invites her to dance with him as the finally quiet chords mark the moment of their first kiss.
- Saturday Night Waltz gave me a lullaby for a hundred sleepy moments for my baby son Matt. Then I danced at his wedding to this song, as the band played it badly.
- Copland is known to have composed quickly and achieve a perfect balance of vitality and quiet reflection, especially in his imaginative companions… out West…at a Saturday Night Waltz.
- Aaron Copland was born November 14, 1900, Brooklyn, N.Y. Died December 2,1990, North Tarrytown, N.Y.
- Composer Aaron Copland (WNYC archives)
Composer Aaron Copland (WNYC archives)
Saturday Night with Aaron Copland Saturday, October 23, 2004