Aaron Copland ~ 1900-1990
This is the complete Orchestral Suite, not the Ballet Suite.
Copland's "Billy the Kid" was commissioned by Lincoln Kirstein for his ballet company, Ballet Caravan, in 1938. The hope was to create an "American" ballet, to counteract the Russian tradition so popular in ballet for centuries.
The result, and I'll quote as I know the music but don't know ballet, was, "the first full-fledged American ballet in style and form as well as content," according to the choreographer of the ballet, Eugene Loring.
As I said, I don't know ballet, but I know classical music and this is a wonderful piece of music regardless of the reason for its composition.
Presented here is the third of three sections (I seperated them to make them fit YouTube's 10:00 minute reequirement; hope that doesn't ruin the flow) that make up the entire Suite for Orchestra which came directly from the ballet with very little change from the ballet score. The Suite was split in to 7 pieces by Copland and, though I don't know, and I apologize, where each begins or ends, I'm sure my educated guess as to the end of each piece and the beginning of the next is accurate, but I haven't noted my guesses in the video.
The sections of Copland's Suite are:
I Introduction: The Open Prairie
II Street in a Frontier Town
III Prairie Night
IV Gun Battle
V Celebration (after Billy's Capture)
VI Billy's Death
VII The Open Prairie Again
Performing is the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra led by Erich Kunzel.