MUSIC VIDEO: Aaron Copland, “Variations on a Shaker Melody”

Grand Teton Oxbow Bend file photo - adapted from NPS image

From his ballet “Appalachian Spring,” Aaron Copland’s “Variations on a Shaker Melody,”  derived from the mid-19th century Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” …

Music by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Copland’s piece is instrumental; the hymn “Simple Gifts” has the following lyrics:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight till by turning, turning we come round right.


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