Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fireworks and Aaron Copland

Well, I could blog about Independance Day. We blew stuff up (take that George III!). We ate (Carmel apple, mmmmmm /homer>). I sang the national anthem at the top of my lungs, three verses - from memory (I only got a bit screetchy at the end).

I have a rhetorical question. Why does someone attend a patriotic celebration, sponsered by an evangelical church if they like neither patriotic songs (God Bless America, America the Beautiful, Star Spangled Banner) nor public prayer?

I sat next to a couple women who seemed angry at the whole spectacle. They cringed and sneered at the multiple church choir singing anthems. They were snide and blasphemous during the prayer for our nation, leaders and troops. They derided the community as bourgeois and tacky.

At last as the fireworks display began they began to quiet only to chortle at the musical accompaniment. The first selection of music, Fanfare for the Common Man, was not recognized but was trivialized as the theme from Star Wars , proving that they did not recognize Aaron Copland or John Williams. So it went wearily along, the ignorance astounding.

By funny coincidence, the second piece of music played by the orchestra for the fireworks display run by the local station was - Theme from Star Wars. I laughed at that.

From the Wiki on Copland:

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 eighteen fanfares [1] were written at Goossens' behest, but Copland's is the only one which remains in the standard repertoire.

Goosens had suggested titles such as Fanfare for Soldiers, or sailors or airmen, and he wrote that "[i]t is my idea to make these fanfares stirring and significant contributions to the war effort...." Copland considered several titles including Fanfare for a Solemn Ceremony and Fanfare for Four Freedoms; to Goossens' surprise, however, Copland titled the piece Fanfare for the Common Man. Goossen 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".

The fanfare was also used as the main theme of the fourth movement of Copland's Third Symphony.

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