Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Aaron Copland and Music Hall

Did you know that Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man was premiered by our very own Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra back in 1943 on the stage at Music Hall? The conductor at the time, Eugene Goossens, commissioned eighteen composers to write fanfares as a contribution to the WWII war efforts. One of these fanfares began each concert of the CSO’s 1942–1943 season. Of these fanfares, Copland’s remains the most famous today. Prior to its premiere, Copland wrestled over the title, considering Fanfare for the Spirit of Democracy, Fanfare for the Rebirth of Lidice (a town in Czechoslovakia that the Nazis had destroyed), and Fanfare for Four Freedoms (in Roosevelt’s 1941 speech he mentioned four freedoms including the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear.) In the end, Copland settled on Fanfare for the Common Man, saying “it was the common man, after all, who was doing all the dirty work in the war and the army. He deserved a fanfare.” Other composers who wrote fanfares for Goossens’ project included Paul Creston, Morton Gould, Howard Hanson, Darius Milhaud, Walter Piston, Bernard Rands, William Grant Still, Deems Taylor, Virgil Thomson, and Goossens himself. The CSO also presented the world premiere of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait in 1942.

Music Hall has a rich history. Let’s explore another major composer, conductor, and pianist, who performed on Music Hall’s stage multiple times during his lifetime. Join me next time to find out who this may be!