American Gothic – Aaron Copland The Tender Land, Glimmerglass 2010

In a year that has seen several stellar productions of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town (for example, Walking the Dog Theater at PS21, and the Williamstown Theater), perhaps it is a necessary corrective to experience Copland’s subtle and discomfiting The Tender Land. Copland’s collaboration in the 1940 film version of the Wilder classic has helped to promulgate the myth of a gingham-and-apple-pie-innocence as the psycho-social basis of the Rural American Gothic. As beautifully Transcendentalist as Our Town is in depicting the ethos of a 1900s New England town, the darker, narrow-minded qualities of insularity should not be overlooked.

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