Music Monday: Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”

One of New York's favorite sons, Aaron Copland.

It’s a surprise we’ve gotten this far into Music Monday that I haven’t featured one of the late Aaron Copland’s compositions. He is, after all, my favorite composer, largely because he’s different from most. He was an American, a Jew, a homosexual – but he shares a common theme with most composers: he came from normal, working-class upbringings. This combination of the American and the working-man is definitively Copland, especially in this piece.

One major memory I have in hearing this piece is that it was the last sounds heard at Shea Stadium at the time of its closing – after a 45-or-so-minute “Shea Goodbye” ceremony (after which, leaving the ballpark, I cried), they played three songs: the Beatles’ “In My Life,” honoring a major part of Shea’s history; Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” honoring a famed local and Mets fan (and later reused as the song to end each evening at Citi Field); and “Fanfare for the Common Man,” which I felt honored the spirit of the ballpark: it was not a fancy ballpark, as is Citi Field, but a ballpark owned, operated, and loved by the people. Was it a dump? Largely, yes. But we held onto it anyway, like child holds a ratty old blanket; it may have been a dump, but it was our dump.

So let’s journey back to 2008, to 1964, and to 1942, for Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”…

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