Determined to find an American sound in music, Copland incorporated jazz idioms into his first orchestral pieces, causing scandal in concert halls in the twenties. These pieces continue to project the energetic rhythms and catchy melodies of jazz in the Roaring Twenties. Music for the Theatre was written for small orchestra with no specific play in mind, but as Copland pointed out, "The music seemed to suggest a certain theatrical atmosphere, so after developing the idea into five short movements, I chose the title."
Copland: Music for the Theatre • Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra
Copland Conducts Music for the Theater (Prologue and Burlesque)
Aaron Copland Music for the Theatre, Mov I
Aaron Copland Music for the Theatre: Analysis by Gerard Schwarz