"FOR PHILLIP, WHO GRUMBLED HIS WAY ACROSS EUROPE!": AARON COPLAND'S PIANO VARIATIONS, INSCRIBED BY HIM
COPLAND, Aaron. Piano Variations. New York: Boosey & Hawkes, circa 1960. Folio, original wrappers, pp.15. $600.
Later edition, inscribed by Aaron Copland on the first page of music, "For Phillip / who grumbled his way / across Europe! / Aaron / '67."
Composed in 1930, Piano Variations is "Copland at his most uncompromising. It depicts a stark, bare, often grim industrial landscape, and it is also a study of intense logic. The theme, twenty variations, and coda remain as rugged and abstract as the day they were finished. The piece was a landmark in Copland's musical development, as well as in the history of American music. Surprisingly, this 'difficult' work has been frequently played and appreciated from its inception" (Dubal, Essential Canon of Classical Music, 615). The recipient of this copy was Phillip Ramey, a composer and writer who was also one of Copland's closest friends.