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tito munoz and tai murray

Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Tito Muñoz, conductor
Tai Murray, violin

Sunday June 27, 2021 @ 4:00 pm

Venetian Theater / $40, $59, $76, $92
Garden Listening / $20

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Overview

Sunday June 27, 2021 @ 4:00 pm

Orchestra of St. Luke’s heralds the return of Caramoor’s Summer Season in a program punctuated by three fanfares from three generations of great American composers, including a world premiere by Valerie Coleman. Led by internationally renowned conductor Tito Muñoz in his Caramoor debut, OSL will make full use of the Venetian Theater, with immersive offstage brass and percussion and an onstage ensemble bringing to life the pastoral themes of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, featuring the “sublime” (The New York Times) violinist Tai Murray.

Artists

Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Tito Muñoz, conductor
Tai Murray, violin

Program

Valerie Coleman: Fanfare for Uncommon Times (World Premiere)
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Joan Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (To the Uncommon Woman) Fanfare #1
Copland: Appalachian Spring Suite
Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

About the Artists

Tito Muñoz, conductor

Praised for his versatility, technical clarity, and keen musical insight, Tito Muñoz is internationally recognized as one of the most gifted conductors on the podium today. Now in his seventh season as Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony, Muñoz previously served as Music Director of the Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy in France. Other prior appointments include Assistant Conductor positions with the Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the Aspen Music Festival. Since his tenure in Cleveland, Muñoz has celebrated critically acclaimed successes with the orchestra, among others stepping in for the late Pierre Boulez in 2012 and leading repeated collaborations with the Joffrey Ballet, including the orchestra’s first staged performances of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in the reconstructed original choreography of Vaslav Nijinsky.

Muñoz has appeared with many of the most prominent orchestras in North America, including those of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, as well as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. He also maintains a strong international conducting presence, including recent and forthcoming engagements with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, SWR Symphonieorchester, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a tour with Orchestre National d’Île de France, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opéra de Rennes/The Turn of the Screw, Auckland Philharmonia, Sydney Symphony, and Sao Paolo State Symphony.

As a proponent of new music, Muñoz champions the composers of our time through expanded programming, commissions, premieres, and recordings. He has conducted important premieres of works by Christopher Cerrone, Kenneth Fuchs, Dai Fujikura, Michael Hersch, Adam Schoenberg, and Mauricio Sotelo. During his tenure as Music Director of the Opéra National de Lorraine, Muñoz conducted the critically-acclaimed staged premiere of Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest. A great advocate of the music of Michael Hersch, he led the world premiere of Hersch’s monodrama On the Threshold of Winter at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014, followed by the premiere of his Violin 

Concerto with Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 2015, a piece they also recorded with the International Contemporary Ensemble on the New Focus label, released in summer 2018. Most recently he gave the world and European premieres of I hope we get a chance to visit soon at the Ojai and Aldeburgh Festivals.

A passionate educator, Muñoz regularly visits North America’s top conservatories/universities, summer music festivals, and youth orchestras. He has led performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, New England Conservatory, New World Symphony, Oberlin Conservatory, Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, University of Texas at Austin, and National Repertory Orchestra, as well as a nine-city tour with the St. Olaf College Orchestra. He maintains a close relationship with the Kinhaven Music School, which he attended as a young musician, and now guest conducts there annually. Muñoz also enjoys a regular partnership with Arizona State University where he has held a faculty position and is a frequent guest teacher and conductor.

Born in Queens, New York, Muñoz began his musical training as a violinist in New York City public schools. He attended the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, and the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division. He furthered his training at Queens College (CUNY) as a violin student of Daniel Phillips. Muñoz received conducting training at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen where he studied with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin. He is the winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s 2005 Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize and the 2006 Aspen Conducting Prize, returning to Aspen as the festival’s Assistant Conductor in the summer of 2007, and later as a guest conductor.

Muñoz made his professional conducting debut in 2006 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, invited by Leonard Slatkin as a participant of the National Conducting Institute. That same year, he made his Cleveland Orchestra debut at the Blossom Music Festival. He was awarded the 2009 Mendelssohn Scholarship sponsored by Kurt Masur and the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Foundation in Leipzig, and was a prizewinner in the 2010 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt.

Tai Murray, violin

Described as “superb” by The New York Times, violinist Tai Murray has established herself a musical voice of a generation. “Technically flawless… vivacious and scintillating… It is without doubt that Murray’s style of playing is more mature than that of many seasoned players…” (Muso Magazine)

Appreciated for her elegance and effortless ability, Murray creates a special bond with listeners through her personal phrasing and subtle sweetness. Her programming reveals musical intelligence. Her sound, sophisticated bowing , and choice of vibrato, remind us of her musical background and influences, principally, Yuval Yaron (a student of Gingold & Heifetz) and Franco Gulli. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2004, Murray was named a BBC New Generation Artist (2008 through 2010). As a chamber musician, she was a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society II (2004- 2006).

She has performed as guest soloist on the main stages world-wide, performing with leading ensembles such as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Symphony Orchestra, and all of the BBC Symphony Orchestras. She is also a dedicated advocate of contemporary works (written for the violin). Among others, she performed the world premiere of Malcolm Hayes’ violin concerto at the BBC PROMS, in the Royal Albert Hall.

As a recitalist Tai Murray has visited many of the world’s capitals having appeared in Berlin, Chicago, Hamburg, London, Madrid, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Paris and Washington D.C., among many others.

Murray’s critically acclaimed debut recording for Harmonia Mundi of Ysaye’s six sonatas for solo violin was released in February 2012. Her second recording, of works by American Composers of the 20th century, was released by the Berlin-based label eaSonus, and her third disc of the Bernstein Serenade was released on the French label Mirare.

Murray plays a violin by Tomaso Balestrieri fecit Mantua ca. 1765, on generous loan from a private collection.

Orchestra of St. Luke’s 

Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) grew from a group of virtuoso musicians performing chamber music concerts at Greenwich Village’s Church of St. Luke in the Fields in 1974.  Now in its 45th season, the Orchestra performs diverse musical genres at New York’s major concert venues, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Renée Fleming and Joshua Bell to Bono and Metallica. In 2018 internationally celebrated expert in 18th-century music Bernard Labadie became OSL’s Principal Conductor, continuing the Orchestra’s long tradition of working with proponents of historical performance practice.

OSL’s signature programming includes a subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall, now in its 32nd season; the OSL Bach Festival at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan School of Music’s Neidorff-Karpati hall, and at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music each June; a chamber music series featuring appearances at The Morgan Library & Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center; and a summer residency at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.  The Orchestra has participated in 118 recordings, four of which have won Grammy Awards, has commissioned more than 50 new works, and has given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres.

Nearly half of OSL’s performances are presented free of charge through its Education & Community program, which reaches over 11,000 New York City public school students each year with school-time concerts. Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL) provides free instrumental coaching, the Chamber Music Mentorship Program provides professional development opportunities and workshops for pre-professional musicians.

OSL built and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City’s only rehearsal, recording, education, and performance space expressly dedicated to classical music. The DiMenna Center serves more than 500 ensembles and more than 30,000 musicians each year.

About the Music

At a Glance

The fanfare is a short ceremonial tune or flourish played on brass instruments, typically used to introduce something or someone important. In this concert, there are three featured fanfares by American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Valerie Coleman has written a new fanfare that will begin the concert; another by Joan Tower will be heard mid-concert; a third, by Aaron Copland, brings the concert to its end. The Lark Ascending by the 20th century British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams is a symphonic poem for violin and orchestra, composed in 1914, but not presented to the public until after the composer returned home following World War I. Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite has an iconic stature. His most characteristic work, it has inspired more admiration from critics and listeners than any of his other music.

The Program

VALERIE COLEMAN
(b. 1970)

Fanfare for Uncommon Times (World Premiere)

About the Composer

Valerie Coleman, Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman Musician of the Year, was named one of the top 25 Women Composers in Classical Music by Anne Midgette in The Washington Post. The Boston Globe described her as having a “talent for delineating form and emotion with shifts between ingeniously varied instrumental combinations,” and The New York Times found her compositions “skillfully wrought, buoyant music.”

A native of Kentucky, flutist and composer Coleman began her music studies in the third grade, and by age 14, she had written three symphonies and had won several local and state competitions. The founder of the famed Imani Winds and an active composer and educator, she is best known for the wind quintet work, Umoja, which was listed by Chamber Music America as one of “101 Great American Works.”

Among the many commissions she has received are those from Carnegie Hall, the American Composers Orchestra, The Library of Congress, the Collegiate Band Directors National Association, Chamber Music Northwest, the National Flute Association, The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

About the Work

Today’s concert marks the world premiere for Fanfare for Uncommon Times. Coleman has spoken about the act of composing as “the creative process of stripping yourself bare to create a new entity that impacts the listener’s emotional value.” Coleman says that “Fanfare for Uncommon Times seeks to serve as the opening statement to mankind’s journey into a new era. It will represent the courage and guarded jubilation one will feel as they enter uncertain times.”

“As a New Yorker in 2001, past feelings of a lost-innocence resurfaced, as I had to re- enter the streets and airports during an insecure post-9/11 era. We all had to hold onto our own manufactured self-assurance that we would be protected. Fanfare attempts to construct this belief in ourselves.”

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
(1872-1958)

The Lark Ascending

About the Composer

Vaughan Williams was one of the most influential of a group of British composers, who after a protracted dreary period in the history of English music, flowered as a school of nationalist composers. In the early years of the 20th century, these composers systematically collected and studied their country’s folk music and revived the works that their countrymen had written from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Activists in addition to being musicians, these composers wrote, taught, played and conducted in concert halls, churches, theaters, and schools, giving traditional and historical English music a new place as well as a new life. 

As well as collecting and cataloguing 800 folk songs, Vaughan Williams edited the new English Hymnal of 1906, and added several new hymns of his own. Not only one of the most important of the English composers of the 20th century, Vaughan Williams was also one of its most prolific. During his long career he composed nine symphonies, five operas, and a large number of other works in almost every imaginable musical form. He had a rigorous classical and musical education and studied in Berlin with Max Bruch; after he had earned his doctorate from Cambridge University, he went to Paris to study with Maurice Ravel.

About the Work

Vaughan Williams completed The Lark Ascending, a symphonic poem for violin and orchestra, in 1914, but it was not presented to the public until after he returned home following World War I. It is dedicated to the violinist Marie Hall, who consulted with the composer on revisions and premiered a violin-piano arrangement in December 1920. Hall also performed as soloist at the orchestral premiere in London at Queen’s Hall in June 1921.  The composer included this excerpt from Meredith’s (1828-1909) poem from Poems of the Joy of Earth (1883) on the flyleaf of the published work:

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break, 
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake. . . .
For singing till his heaven fills, 
‘Tis love of earth that he instills, 
And ever winging up and up, 
Our valley is his golden cup,
And he the wind which overflows 
To lift us with him as he goes . . . .
Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.

A Deeper Listen

An orchestral romance, the work’s formal structure has a tripartite (ABA) shape and follows the poem’s language to deliver a portrait of the lark’s song and the countryside, the latter represented by folk melodies. The piece begins with a calm, orchestral introduction followed by a soft, sustained chord before the violin, representing the lark, enters, in ascending intervals. Its long solo cadenzas, which can be likened to fluid bird songs, begin at the opening over accompanying harmonies; they also close the score. A shorter violin cadenza introduces the contrasting middle section and separates the two principal parts. The central section for violin and orchestra has the sense of a folk-like, quiet pastorale in which bits of birdsong, sometimes articulated by the winds, mingle with other melodies.

JOAN TOWER
(b. 1938)

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (To the Uncommon Woman) 

Fanfare No. 1 

About the Composer

The New Yorker magazine has called Tower (born in New Rochelle, New York) “one of the most successful woman composers of all time.” 

Tower spent much of her youth in South America, returning to the United States to study at Bennington College and Columbia University where she earned a doctorate in composition. 

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she was the first woman to receive the Grawemeyer Award in Composition in 1990 and was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences at Harvard in the fall of 2004. Tower was the first composer to be chosen for the “Made in America” commissioning consortium program of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer. 

Tower has frequently been composer-in-residence at numerous universities, and orchestras and chamber music ensembles perform her music throughout the country. Tower’s bold and energetic music, with its striking imagery and novel structural forms, has won large, enthusiastic audiences. More than 400 different ensembles have performed her tremendously popular five Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman. 

Since 1972, Tower has taught at Bard College where she is Asher Edelman Professor of Music. She continues as composer-in-residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, a title she also held for eight years at the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

About the work

In 1986, Joan Tower was invited to contribute a work to a series of fanfares commissioned by the Houston Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the Texas sesquicentennial. She responded with Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, which she wrote, “to honor women who are adventurous and who take risks.” Her musical model was Aaron Copland’s Music for the Common Man. (The expression “common man” of course does not exclude women but is meant to be all-inclusive and, as American English usage provided until recent years, free of gender implication.) Tower’s initial work requires the same instruments as Copland used: the basic orchestral brass section of four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, and the percussion required by Copland with the addition of marimba, chimes, glockenspiel and drums.

She called Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1 a “quasi-tribute” to Copland and quoted a “snippet of a theme” (her words) from it. Sometimes viewed as a sort of feminist counterpoint to Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Tower’s Fanfare No. 1 was premiered on January 10, 1987, with the Houston Symphony, Hans Vonk conducting. The work is dedicated to the conductor Marin Alsop. Tower has commented that she shaped its main theme to resemble the first theme of the Copland work, although in a more decorative manner.

After the original Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1, Tower was asked to write “one fanfare after the other” for various events: No. 2 was commissioned by Absolut Vodka in 1989; No. 3 (1991) was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its 100th anniversary; No. 4 (1992) for the 50th anniversary of the Kansas City Symphony; and No. 5 (1993) by the Aspen Music Festival for the opening of the Joan and Irving Harris Concert Hall. Each is for a different instrumental combination. More than two decades after she completed her fifth fanfare, Tower wrote Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 6 for orchestra. It was given its premiere in 2016. Tower refers to the series of fanfares as her “only political pieces.”

Tamara Bernstein, in her liner notes for a recording of Fanfare No. 1, commented: “It was immediately embraced as an historic feminist statement in music.”

The most popular of the six Fanfares, No. 1 has been performed over 500 times and has earned a secure position in the repertory. In it, the trumpets, horns, and trombones each introduce thematic ideas during the first half of the work, then repeat, alter, and blend the thematic statements during the second half, in which very special timpani solos are featured.

AARON COPLAND
(1900-1990)

Appalachian Spring Suite 

About the Composer

Copland’s parents, Sarah and Harris, were Russian-born, Jewish immigrants. His mother’s family, the Mittenthals, were adventurous, settling in Texas, where they  operated a dry goods store until Jesse James’ brother, Frank, robbed the store and the family moved north to the Lower East Side in New York City. In Brooklyn, the family owned “a kind of neighborhood Macy’s,” as Copland described it. At some point, the family lived above the store; the five children, including young Aaron, worked in the store. 

No one knew or could understand where Copland’s desire to become a musician came from, but his parents willingly paid for piano lessons when he asked for them, and when he realized he needed a professional teacher, they arranged for lessons with the well-known New York musician Rubin Goldmark.

When Copland was 20 and had never traveled further than Manhattan, he applied and was accepted for a fellowship at the Conservatoire Americain at the Palace of Fontainebleau, believing that only in France, “where everything new and exciting was happening,” would he thrive. He met the young Nadia Boulanger and became one of her first students. While still in Paris, Copland met the legendary conductor, Serge Koussevitzky, courtesy of Boulanger; after the eminent conductor looked at a score of an early work in progress, he commissioned Copland to compose a concerto that he would conduct with the Boston Symphony and the New York Symphony (an early iteration of the NY Philharmonic), but as it turned out, Walter Damrosch conducted it instead. In France, Copland began to think about creating a distinctively American sound, saying, “There is a French-sounding music, a German sound, why not American? We had done it in ragtime and jazz, but not in the kind of concert music I was interested in.”

He composed a wide range of concert music as well as collaborative works for radio, film, ballet, and opera, all the time promoting American music. His music embodies optimism, a confidence at once energetic and assertive, while nevertheless, at least inwardly, displaying tenderness and nostalgia that occasionally borders on the sentimental. One of his major achievements was creating an idiom that was original and yet familiar, contemporary yet not incomprehensible, encompassing a wide range of emotion, yet genuine and compelling in its evocation.

About the Work

Some of the fame and iconic stature of Appalachian Spring is probably due to its intertwined history with the work of the famous 20th century modern dancer, Martha Graham. When the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in the Library of Congress commissioned a dance work from Graham in 1942, Graham turned to Aaron Copland for the music for the ballet that she based on the childhood memories of her 90-year-old grandmother, who had spent most of her life on a Pennsylvania farm. Copland began work on Appalachian Spring in 1943, as a commission by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who paid him $500 “for a dance piece.”

In 1944, Copland delivered his Ballet for Martha to Graham, a name that subsequently became the work’s subtitle. Graham found the title she wanted for the music in the poem “The Dance,” from Hart Crane’s cycle The Bridge. Graham said she chose the title solely because she liked the sound of it, even though it had no connection with either the location or scenario of the ballet. The ballet Appalachian Spring became one of Graham’s most durable works and one of the best loved of all-American compositions. “Appalachian Spring would never have existed without her special personality,” Copland said in 1974. “The music was created for her and it reflects the unique quality of a  human being.”

The ballet’s story, as described in a note in the score, concerns “a pioneer celebration, in spring, around a newly built farmhouse in the Pennsylvania hills, in the early part of the last [sic. 19th] century. A bride-to-be and a young farmer-husband enact the emotions, joyful and apprehensive, that their new domestic partnership invites. An older neighbor suggests now and then the rocky confidence of experience. A revivalist and his followers remind the new householders of the strange and terrible aspects of human fate. At the end, the couple are left, quiet and strong, in their new house.” In an interview in 1975, Graham added, “It is essentially the coming of new life. It has to do with growing things. Spring is the loveliest and saddest time of year.” Graham’s scenario originally joined many events of American social history occurring around the time of the Civil War in some generalized place in the American heartland, although finally, the setting became rural western Pennsylvania, where Graham spent her childhood, not far from Pittsburgh.

In Crane’s poem, the Appalachian spring indicates water trickling through the hills, rather than a season, but for Graham idea of the season was paramount: “Spring was celebrated by a man and woman building a house with joy and love and prayer; by a revivalist and his followers in their shouts of exaltation; by a pioneering woman with her dreams of the Promised Land.”

Copland consciously chose a populist style in an attempt to create a musical language that was fundamentally American and that spoke directly to an American audience with immediately accessible music that also allowed him to display his consummate skill and subtlety. Copland emphasized the couple’s humility with the Shaker tune Simple Gifts but later remarked, “My research evidently was not very thorough, since I did not realize that there have never been Shaker settlements in rural Pennsylvania!”

Appalachian Spring was first performed at the Library of Congress in Washington on October 30, 1944, as an 80th birthday tribute to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. In May 1945 Copland arranged this colorful orchestral suite from the ballet, cutting pieces here and there and highlighting the work’s “more idyllic side.” He required a relatively small orchestra but one larger than the one he had used for the original ballet. He commented on his expectations for the piece: “You know, Appalachian Spring took me about a year to finish. . . I remember thinking how crazy it was to spend all that time, because I knew how short-lived most ballets and their scores are. But the suite for symphony orchestra that I derived from Appalachian Spring was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 and took on a life of its own. Actually, it had a lot to do with bringing my name before a wider public.”

A Deeper Listen

Appalachian Spring is generally thought to be folk-inspired,” Copland said, “but the Shaker tune Tis the Gift to be Simple is the only folk material actually quoted in the piece.” Rhythms and melodies that suggest a certain ambiance and the use of specific folk themes are, after all, not the same thing; nevertheless, the score displays an absorption in the vernacular, as Pollock, Copland’s biographer says, “suitable to a script so steeped in a wide range of American myth and folklore.  It often gives the impression of folk music.”

Appalachian Spring is the work that came to be associated with the archetypal ‘American sound.’ Its distinctive wide-open separated musical intervals were much imitated by many American composers. Copland was aware of the dangers that his music might be modeling: he feared those who imitated his music might end up with music that was overly sentimental and invoked cloying nostalgia.

The composer provided the following road map to the piece:

1.   Very slowly. Introduction of the characters, one by one, in a suffused light.

2.   Fast. Sudden burst of unison strings in A Major arpeggios starts the action. A sentiment both elated and religious gives the keynote to this scene.

3.   Moderate. Duo for the Bride and her Intended — scene of tenderness and passion.

4.   Quite fast. The Revivalist and his flock. Folksy feeling — suggestions of square dances and country fiddlers.

5.   Still faster. Solo dance of the Bride — presentiment of motherhood. Extremes of joy and fear and wonder.

6.   Very slowly (as at first). Transition scene to music reminiscent of the introduction.

7.   Calm and flowing. Scenes of daily activity for the Bride and her Farmer husband. There are five variations on a Shaker theme. The theme, sung by a solo clarinet, was taken from a collection of Shaker melodies compiled by author Edward D. Andrews, and published under the title The Gift to Be Simple.The melody most borrowed and used almost literally is called Simple Gifts.

8.   Moderate. Coda. The Bride takes her place among her neighbors. At the end the couple are left “quiet and strong in their new house.” Muted strings intone a hushed prayer-like chorale passage. The close is reminiscent of the opening music.

AARON COPLAND

Fanfare for the Common Man

About the Work

Eugene Goosens and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra commissioned Copland’s noble Fanfare for the Common Man during World War II. Fanfare for the Common Man premiered on March 14, 1943. The Cincinnati Symphony opened each concert that season with a fanfare, a format Goosens designed as morale boosting project. “It is my idea,” Goosens said, “to make these fanfares stirring and significant contributions to the war effort.”

A Deeper Listen

Unlike most fanfares, which derive from the traditional bugle call, Copland’s fanfare is declamatory, resembling his other music. It begins with a short, dramatic introduction for percussion; three trumpets then announce the theme, unaccompanied. The trumpets and horns restate the theme in two-part harmony, then in three parts, with the addition of two trombones. Finally horns, trumpets, trombones, and tuba, massively spaced, join together.

With this fanfare, completed in 1942, Copland honored ordinary people fighting in the ranks and working on the home front.  Years later, he commented, “It was the common man, after all, who was doing all the dirty work in the war and the army.  He deserved a fanfare.” In 1946, he adapted the music for use in the last movement of his Symphony No. 3.

– Susan Halpern

All artists and dates are subject to change and cancellation without notice as we work closely with local health experts and officials. Please note that all performances at Caramoor are in compliance with current New York State Regulations. Read our latest Health & Safety updates.