LIstening Quest #6: Aaron Copland

Monday, November 16, 2015 by Vicki Martin | Listening Quest

On November 14, 1900, Aaron Copland was born. We have just passed his birthday, though he died in 1990. He was an American composer and conductor and wrote music that is considered to be classic American, including what is considered to be cowboy and western music. The piece I'll be starting with is Fanfare for the Common Man, which was written in 1942 during World War II just after the US joined the war. It was intended to be patriotic, but also honour the common or ordinary person. It's been borrowed often for tv and film scores, so it is very likely you have heard it before, even if you didn't know its name or composer.

Extra Exploring: One of his other more famous songs is Hoe-down from a ballet he wrote called Rodeo. It sounds like what we would consider to be classic "western" music. If you have seen An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, you've heard a parody of this using some of the same musical themes.

Extra Extra Exploring: That's not all! Near the end of his life, he also wrote another giant piece (over 40 minutes long) called Appalachian Spring, also intended as a ballet. It's long, but worth it! It incorporates a folk tune called 'Tis the Gift to be Simple that you hear coming in at 23:25, so if you only want to listen to a bit of it, that might be a good place to start.