Poking through a pile of Aaron Copland's unfinished manuscripts one day, two of his intimate friends — Phillip Ramey and Bennett Lerner — came across a sketch for piano and orchestra dating from the 1940s. Both of them liked it, and they showed it to Aaron. He was pleased with it, too, and though this was late in Aaron's life and the piece was from long ago, he decided to complete it for piano solo and to call it Midday Thoughts. (Undoubtedly, it is so titled to fit with another of Copland's short piano pieces, Night Thoughts, written for the Van Cliburn Competition in 1971. Does there await discovery, somewhere in Copland's oeuvre unknown to me, his Morning Thoughts? That would certainly complete this diurnal cycle.)
Midday Thoughts is vintage Copland in his loveliest tonal style — simple and touching, yet obviously the work of a sophisticated master.
Having known Aaron Copland for many years not only as a friend but also as a mentor, I undertook to orchestrate Midday Thoughts for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's Copland Centennial concerts as an hommage to Aaron — an appreciation of the generosity of spirit that ceaselessly flowed from him and that was as prodigious, as wondrous and as healing as his musical gifts.