Copland, Aaron - Fanfare For The Common Man - Emerson Lake & Palmer
Type of Spiritual Experience
From the website Gay Influence
A fortuitous side effect of [Copland’s love for Kraft] was Copland’s rebirth as a composer. He dropped his complicated, dense European style of writing and began filling scores with a fresh, simple kind of music, a reflection of the lifestyle he and Kraft had shared in Mexico. …
Copland then set about writing a string of hits, such as music for the ballet Billy the Kid and numerous film scores. Before he knew it, he found his soundtrack for the movie Of Mice and Men nominated for an Academy Award. Kraft had moved into Copland’s Manhattan apartment and took over the household, playing the role of charming host by planning and cooking for casual dinner parties. Kraft gave up his own career as a violinist to work in the field of photojournalism, going on to achieve great success in this endeavor. Kraft also insisted that Copland clear his schedule several times a year so that they could enjoy felicitous getaways as a couple.
At this time Fanfare for the Common Man, perhaps now the most recognizable 2-minute composition in history, came about as a commission from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1942. It has since been used in advertising, films, rock anthems, and even as the wake-up call for astronauts. President Obama chose it to kick-off his inaugural celebrations in 2009. Success built upon success, and the cup that held Copland’s musical inspiration was suddenly filled to overflowing.
As Copland’s fame grew, Kraft saw to it that the composer had a stress-free home life. Victor planned vacations – local getaways as well as major treks to Cuba, South America and a return visit to Mexico. Kraft even found a cottage retreat for the pair when they needed a break from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Copland bought it, and they enjoyed their first stay in rural New Jersey in 1944. That summer Copland’s Appalachian Spring won the Pulitzer Prize. Two more film scores were nominated for an Academy Award, and his soundtrack for the film adaption of the Henry James novel The Heiress (1940) won the Academy Award for best musical score.
A description of the experience
ELP's adaptation of Aaron Copland's composition was released as a three minute single reaching No. 2 in the UK singles chart.
Fanfare for the Common Man was written in 1942 for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under conductor Eugene Goossens. It was inspired in part by a famous speech made earlier in the same year where the vice president of the United States of America Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the dawning of the "Century of the Common Man".
Several alternative versions have been made and fragments of the work have appeared in many subsequent US and British cultural productions, such as in the musical scores of movies. This version is one of the very best.
Copland, in his autobiography, wrote of the request: "Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, had written to me at the end of August about an idea he wanted to put into action for the 1942-43 concert season. During World War I he had asked British composers for a fanfare to begin each orchestral concert. It had been so successful that he thought to repeat the procedure in World War II with American composers". A total of 18 fanfares were written at Goossens' behest, but Copland's is the only one which remains in the standard repertoire.
Goossens wrote "Its title is as original as its music, and I think it is so telling that it deserves a special occasion for its performance. If it is agreeable to you, we will premiere it 12 March 1943 at income tax time". Copland's reply was "I [am] all for honoring the common man at income tax time".
Copland later used the fanfare as the main theme of the fourth movement of his Third Symphony (composed between 1944 - 1946.)