CriticalDance Forum

Fanfare for the Common Man
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Author:  salzberg [ Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Fanfare for the Common Man

I had an epiphany this week. I listened to Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.

I'd heard it before, of course -- it's long been one of my favorite pieces of American music, actually -- but this time I really listened to it. And, for the first time, I understood it.

It helps to know the background. In 1942, the Cincinatti Orchestra invited 18 composers to submit new pieces expressing their feelings about America. At the time, Nazi Germany had conquered most of Europe. Much of Asia was under the control of Imperial Japan. Mussolini was carving out his own empire in Africa and southern Europe.

Aaron Copland entered the competition.

Tympani -- the cannons of war.

...And silence...Evil appears triumphant and unstoppable.

...But a single horn enters, playing the theme...a single man, who realizes that Evil must be opposed, even though opposition will surely cost him his life.

More cannons.

A second person, seeing the first, stands with him. It's still hopeless -- what can two people do against such an overwhelming enemy? -- but Evil must be opposed; it cannot be allowed to stand.

...But a third person stands...and a fourth...and a fifth. The tide begins to turn.

...And now there's a mighty army, invincible. Evil is vanquished.

...Because one person had the courage to stand against it.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat May 07, 2005 3:00 am ]
Post subject:  40 reasons to hate "Star Wars"

Thanks for this reading of one of my favourite pieces of music, Jeff. It also made me think about the time Copland was hauled up before Joe McCarthy's Un-American activities senate committee. Sadly, he was pretty much on his own there and a group did not rise up to oppose the evil of the witch-hunt. Fortunately, a top lawyer took on his case pro-bono and after a few years Copland was able to travel again and renew his links with music in Central and South America and elsewhere.

Jeff, have you heard the version of the "Fanfare" which is used as the basis of the fourth movement of Copland's monumental Third Symphony?

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