“Appalachian Spring” does not refer to a season of the year, but rather to a spiritual sort of “spring” as a font of devotional strength. The loose plot, devised by choreographer MARTHA GRAHAM, told the story, through dance, of a newly married Shaker couple and their relationship to their community. In the original ballet, the climax of the work is articulated though a set of variations on a Shaker hymn of thankfulness. The original orchestration, for only thirteen players, was soon fleshed out into a version for full orchestra, from which this set of variations was later derived. Composed at the height of Copland’s popularity, the ballet won the Pulitzer prize and has remained one of the composer’s best-known works.