American Attitude on The American Sound, 6pm Saturday

American music with pluck on The American Sound, 6 p.m. Saturday, on Classical 101.(Photo: fo.ol (Creative Commons/Flickr))
American music with pluck on The American Sound, 6 p.m. Saturday, on Classical 101.(Photo: fo.ol (Creative Commons/Flickr))

Call it the can-do spirit run amok, or call it an extra dose of chutzpah – whatever name you give it, a thread of defiance has always run through the American psyche.

That rakishness beams through letters to the editor and fuels late-night TV comedy shows. And it’s arguably the engine behind the strange nostalgia about some of the scofflaws, renegades and ne’er-do-wells of America’s past.

Take, for instance, Billy the Kid, a soldier-turned-frontier outlaw whose mug shot gazed out from “most wanted” posters in his day, and whose notorious reputation still informs our take on American history. This might seem an unlikely resume for the subject of a ballet, but Aaron Copland’s music for the ballet Billy the Kid has, since its composition in 1938, unquestionably stood the test of time.

Saturday evening on The American Sound, Copland’s music for Billy the Kid rubs shoulders with composer Gordon Goodwin’s musical depiction of what he describes as the “vigor and quirkiness” of Venice Beach, California – that in a freewheeling, jazzy movement of Goodwin’s California Pictures for String Quartet. And we’ll wrap things up with a sonata for piano, four hands that proudly declares itself “snazzy” when composer Judith Lang Zaimont performs her Snazzy Sonata with her sister.

Hope you’ll join me for American music with good, old-fashioned American pluck on The American Sound, Saturday at 6pm on Classical 101!

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