greenbelt md

The New City (Suite)
Aaron Copland

Copland - Suite from The City (1939)

VII. The New City
Post Classical Ensemble
Angel Gil-Ordoñez, cond.  

The City is a film documentary created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Produced by Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke, it aimed to show how the development of both large metropolises and noisy, dirty mill towns had stifled the “American way of life,” and also to sell a remedy–the “planned communities” which began popping up on the Eastern Seabord during the FDR years, at first under the direct control of the New Deal administration. 

The film was shot without dialogue (in part because of the high cost of outdoor on-site sound production), but a narration track and a delightful and little-appreciated score by Aaron Copland were provided. In this, the final number of the film music suite, Copland sets the mood for the exhibition of just the kind of model town the filmmakers had in mind–Greenbelt, Maryland, pictured above in an aerial shot from 1939.