The ballet - which was composed in the early 1940s premiered in 1944, and won Copland a Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 1950 however, Copland rearranged the ballet as an orchestral suite. The extract of the piece that I enjoy the most is the introduction merely titled: 'very slowly'. Here in the ballet, we see each of the characters introduced one by one in a suffused light. Copland used these introductions to create a musical metaphor by setting each of the characters a line from various solo instruments, the first being a clarinet; followed by a flute, and so on and so forth, with each of the solo lines accompanied by the soft chords of strings and harp.
The music that then follows the slow movement is much more upbeat, with the addition of the rest of the orchestra - that are given developed and repeated motifs - yet Copland still manages to keep a sense of peace and spring in the tone of the music.