I then organized as much of my American Twentieth Century music onto an mp3 CD as I could. This meant the copious Copland, too.
Interestingly, the work that really came out and hit me in the face was John Corigliano's first symphony. I had bought this disc years and years ago, at the recommendation of one of my regulars at Tower, who mentioned that if I liked Corigliano's score for Altered States, his first symphony was even better. This was not long after the RCA/Victor Leonard Slatkin CD came out, which had the choral work "Of Rage and Rememberance," which was based on the third movement of the symphony. The disc was getting raves from critics and the proceeds went to help AIDS research, so I bought the CD.
For some reason, I never had the chance to listen to it when I first got it, and I have never really taken the opportunity to do so until now.
I had been missing out.
The music is outstanding, emotional without sacrificing intellect. In particular, the third movement reaches moments of a grand tragedy, and despite the sophisticated idiom the music is written in, it connects on a basic, primal level (although the music never comes across sounding "primitive" the way Altered States does.
I was truly blown away by this work. Anyone interested in American Twentieth Century music should give this a listen.