Contemplating Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” on Election Day

Posted on: November 8, 2016

“He heard it all in his head: The drum-bursts like distant bombs, and then the somber trumpet fanfare, played seamlessly in unison by three trumpeters,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Sunday’s (11/6) Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio). “Aaron Copland signed ‘Nov. 6 1942’ on the last page of his ‘Fanfare for the Common Man.’ … He had no idea that his contribution to the war effort would live far beyond its premiere by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra later that season [and] would endure for nearly 75 years as one of America’s most patriotic pieces of music.… As the nation prepares to vote on Tuesday, it is a reminder of the ordinary people who fought for democracy…. It was commissioned just months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Cincinnati Symphony’s music director Eugene Goossens … asked Copland to write it.… Copland squeezed his fanfare in between writing ‘Danzón Cubano’ for the League of Composers and the premiere of ‘Rodeo,’ his ballet for Agnes de Mille in 1942.” Copland later used the fanfare as the main theme of the fourth movement of his Third Symphony. The newspaper’s coverage of Fanfare for the Common Man includes interviews with Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell and Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart.

Posted November 8, 2016

In photo: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra trumpeters (from left) Christopher Kiradjieff, Douglas Stephen Lindsay, and Steven Pride play the introduction to “Fanfare for the Common Man” in front of John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Photo by Carrie Cochran