Aaron Copland

Fanfare for the Common Man, for brass & percussion (from Symphony No. 3)

    Description by Michael Jameson

    Aaron Copland's iconic Fanfare for the Common Man is without question his most internationally popular work, not least because it was once featured in an album by the rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer, in which form it reached a global audience of huge numbers. The piece, which is scored for brass ensemble with timpani, bass drum, and tam-tam, originally came into existence as the result of a commission from the conductor Eugene Goossens, who in 1942 was serving as music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The work was one of a set of 18 fanfares written by various American composers during the dark days of World War II, all of which were expressly intended to promote feelings of patriotism and national unity. Copland's contribution to the project has been the only one of the set to find a place in the regular orchestral repertory; its original siblings have faded away.

    Analyzing its success, Stuart Ledbetter points out that "part of the reason for this is surely its splendid title, but even more is the soaring, heroic character of its opening trumpet theme." Appropriately, too, for a ceremonial expression of national pride, the fanfare begins with an arresting call to attention, with solemn, regular strokes from the percussion instruments, whose measured salvo precedes the first statement of the trumpet theme itself. The entire work is built around this original statement, which grows in intensity through exchanges of the theme between trombones and tuba, and then horns and trumpets. The score concludes with a magnificently effective percussion crescendo supporting a thrilling final sustained chord for the brass.

    While Copland was working on his Symphony No. 3 in the years 1944-1946, he commented that he was "certainly reaching for the grandest gesture." Indeed, the grandiloquence and colossal sense of optimism that underlies what is widely regarded as the greatest symphony by any U.S. composer is stunningly crowned by the reappearance of the Fanfare for the Common Man as a preface to the final movement. Actually, however, as Anthony Burton suggests, it "provides a focus for the work in a more subtle way: its intervals, especially the rising fourth and fifth of the first phrase, permeate the thematic material of the entire symphony."

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295974930
    2016 Chandos CHSA 5164
    2016 Sony Classical 88985357942
    2015 Lim 80
    2015 Erato / Rhino 36935
    2015 New York Philharmonic NYP 20150201
    2014 Decca
    2014 Decca
    2014 Decca
    2014 Priory Records PRCD 1096
    2014 Erato / Erato Disques / Warner Classics 2564634485
    2014 Decca
    2014 Music At Immanuel
    2013 ABC Classics ABC 4810644
    2013 Alto 1209
    2013 Carl Davis Collection CDC 020
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099972343
    2013 C Major Entertainment / Major 713208
    2013 C Major Entertainment / Major 713304
    2012 Classic FM
    2012 Decca 4783353
    2012 Decca
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099932785
    2012 Decca / Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd.
    2012 Naxos 8578217
    2012 Naxos 8572917
    2012 BR Klassik / Ear Music 0208328ERE
    2011 Washington National Cathedral 0501
    2011 Altissimo ALT 55902
    2011 Sony Music 88697915022
    2010 Digital
    2010 Virgin Classics 50999070193
    2010 Sony Classical 88697707322
    2010 Decca / London 4307052
    2010 EMI / EMI Classics VTDCDX 1004
    2010 Loft Recordings 1114
    2010 ABC Classics / SBS Records 4764110
    2010 Sony Music Distribution 8869770047
    2009 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099996424
    2009 Sony Classical Essential Classics 742560
    2009 Sheridan Square Records 28410
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099921750
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920663
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 Delos DE6012
    2008 Opening Day Recordings 001055702
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 729035
    2008 Sheridan Square Records 7706
    2007 Virgin Classics 3913392
    2007 Music Club Records 546
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946381498
    2007 Fim 73
    2007 Madacy 52916
    2007 ORF 378
    2006 SPJ Music 95805
    2006 Sony Music Distribution 82876 85239-2
    2006 Decca 4757470
    2005 Chandos CHAN 24123
    2005 Regis Records 1209
    2005 Regis Records 1004
    2005 Perlowin Music 0362
    2005 Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. CDRTV0197
    2005 Sony Classical 94772
    2005 Time/Life Music 201852
    2004 Castle Pulse PBXCD 566
    2004 Dmg Tv DMGTV 007
    2004 Telarc Distribution SA-60595
    2004 Telarc Distribution CD-80595
    2004 Telarc Distribution 60648
    2004 Decca 000277802
    2004 Artemis Classics ATMCD1272
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62511
    2004 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000356802
    2004 Koch / Commotion Records / Commotion/Koch 5756
    2003 BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) / BCI-Eclipse Distribution 40400
    2003 American Gramaphone Records 1776
    2003 Crimson Productions CRIMCD374
    2003 Sony Classical 90403
    2003 Decca 000097002
    2003 Decca 000123102
    2003 Virgin 45564
    2002 Vox 5182
    2002 Vox 90104
    2002 Compendia Music Group 5415
    2002 Telarc Distribution 80611
    2002 Brilliant 6169
    2001 RCA 63888
    2001 RCA Victor Red Seal 09026638882
    2001 Philips / Philips / Universal Distribution 156
    2001 Decca 289 467 746
    2001 RCA 63861
    2000 Castle Music Ltd. 517/5
    2000 Vox 8846
    2000 Sony Classical 89323
    2000 RCA Red Seal 63720
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 89274
    2000 Virgin 61702
    2000 Reference Recordings 93
    2000 Tring 040
    2000 Analogue Productions 004
    2000 Monster Music 107388
    2000 Erato 26388
    2000 Intersound 1224
    2000 Pro Organo 7084
    1999 Penguin Classics 460 656-2DP
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 45382
    1999 Angel Records 573653-2
    1999 Sony Classical Essential Classics / Sony Music Distribution 65819
    1999 Decca / Polygram 466909
    1998 Sony Classical 60593
    1998 Allegro Corporation 2
    1998 Platinum Entertainment 1735
    1998 Intersound 3845
    1997 Telarc Distribution 80339
    1997 Intersound 1218
    1997 Madacy 7131
    1997 Concert Gold 3660
    1997 Newport 85583
    1996 Philips 454391
    1996 Intersound 2520
    1996 Decca
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62401
    1996 London 448 261-2DF2
    1996 BNA 5094
    1996 Nimbus 4002
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 47543
    1995 IMP Classics 15
    1995 RCA 62674
    1995 Intersound 1215
    1995 Delos 3179
    1995 Reader's Digest Music 179
    1995 Capriccio Records 10361
    1994 ASV 6137
    1994 Pro-Arte Records 3502
    1994 Chandos 9210
    1994 Sony Classical 66708
    1994 RCA 68020
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 64059MLK
    1994 Naxos 550008
    1994 Rene Gailly 87076
    1994 DG Deutsche Grammophon 445486
    1993 Collins Records 12882
    1993 ASV CDDCA 870
    1993 RPO 7018
    1993 Pro-Arte Records 570
    1993 Publishers Clearing House 5093/5095
    1993 Pickwick Group 12
    1993 RCA / RCA Victor 61545
    1993 RCA Victor / RCA 61545
    1992 Pro-Arte Records / Yell Records 3436
    1992 RCA 61369
    1992 Vox 5035
    1992 Nimbus 5246
    1992 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 2RC-60983
    1992 Delos 3140
    1992 Telarc Distribution 89101
    1991 RCA 60837
    1991 Sony Classical SFK-46715
    1991 CBS Records / Sony Music Distribution MLK-45736
    1991 London 430705
    1991 Decca
    1991 RCA Victor 60837
    1991 Sony Classical 46559
    1991 Whaleco 102
    1991 RCA Victor Red Seal / RCA 60778
    1990 CBS Records 44723
    1990 CBS Records 42430
    1988 CBS Records 37257
    1987 Hyperion 66189
    1983 Telarc Distribution 80078
    Mark Custom Recording 3490
    UNT College of Music
    Vox 8796
    Pro-Arte Records 846
    EMI Music Distribution 64306
    Classical Communications CDG1139
    Pro-Arte Records 3413
    EMI Music Distribution 67227
    Seraphim UK 69585
    Virgin 90716
    CBS Records 39443
    CBS Masterworks 42265
    Naxos 550282
    Agora Musica 007
    Redwood Recordings
    Naxos 8 550035/6
    Naxos 506005
    EMI Music Distribution 62043
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 431541
    Naxos 557941
    Virgin 59654
    Virgo 91466
    RCA 63719
    Pro-Arte Records 527
    London 417716
    Madacy
    B&V Recordings 100
    Sony Music Distribution 61989
    In Classical Mood 12039
    ABC Classics 4763341
    New York Philharmonic NYP9915
    Echoes of Heaven
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 445770
    Music at Immanuel 5605
    EMI Music Distribution 790353
    EMI Music Distribution 65654
    Reader's Digest Music 079
    Koch International Classics 7012