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Unsettled ScoresPolitics, Hollywood, and the Film Music of Aaron Copland and Hanns Eisler$
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Sally Bick

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042812

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042812.001.0001

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Copland, Hollywood, and American Musical Modernism

Copland, Hollywood, and American Musical Modernism

Of Mice and Men

Chapter:
(p.40) Chapter 3 Copland, Hollywood, and American Musical Modernism
Source:
Unsettled Scores
Author(s):

Sally Bick

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252042812.003.0003

This chapter provides a detailed musical and cinematic analysis of Of Mice and Men, Copland’s first Hollywood film score. The discussion begins by outlining Copland’s interest in film and Hollywood, his desire to engage in mass entertainment, and his eventual first Hollywood commission. Copland’s ideas are compared with the shared values of novelist John Steinbeck, which embrace Popular Front ideals, nationalism, and Americanism. Likewise, Milestone’s cinematic vision, which borrows Dorothea Lange’s photographic depiction of the realities of Depression-era migrant workers, is echoed by the sonic aesthetic of simplicity realized in Copland’s style. Copland’s score is discussed within the larger context of 1930s American music with references to Virgil Thomson and the critique of Arthur Berger.

Keywords:   Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Lewis Milestone, Virgil Thomson, Dorothea Lange, American music, Popular Front, nationalism, Americanist, Hollywood scores

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