Most people have heard Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Written for a robust brass section of four French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, a tuba, plus a timpani, bass drum, and tam-tam, Copeland’s fanfare is the best-known of 18 fanfares commissioned in 1942 by Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony. Goossens’ goal in commissioning these fanfares was to inspire support for the war effort.

Most fanfares had military themes, such as Fanfare for Airmen and Fanfare for the American Soldier. However, Copeland struggled to find a title for his fanfare. He considered Fanfare for the Spirit of Democracy and Fanfare for the Four Freedoms (speech, religion, and freedom from want and fear). He chose Fanfare for the Common Man because he felt it was the common man “who was doing all the dirty work in the war and the army.”

Goossens selected March 12, 1943, for the first performance of…

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