Magazine article America in WWII

A Trumpet Blast for WWII Americans

Magazine article America in WWII

A Trumpet Blast for WWII Americans

Article excerpt

Conductor Eugene Goossens thought it would be nice to begin each performance of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's 1942-1943 concert season with a different musical fanfare. So he wrote to the best composers in America: "It is my idea to make these fanfares stirring and significant contributions to the war effort."

Goossen soon had commissioned 18 men to write 18 fanfares. One of these short pieces for brass and percussion became part of the standard orchestral repertoire and remains part of it today. The composer was Brooklyn-born Aaron Copland, and he titled his piece "Fanfare for the Common Man" in honor of the average American who was fighting the war overseas or on the home front. Goossen like the idea and suggested, "If it is agreeable to you, we will premiere it 12 March 1943 at income tax time." Copland was agreeable: "I was all for honoring the common man at income tax time."

Copland had long been interested in America's indigenous music. He loved jazz and the peculiar blends of international folk styles that had become American folk. As a composer, he wanted to break American orchestral music away from its European foundations and create a distinctive sound based on the indigenous styles. His critically regarded compositions Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid reveal a musical mind steeped in the sounds and mystique of America.

Some critics have said "Fanfare for the Common Man" summons imagery of the American heartland. …

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