Fanfare for the Common Man (Copland 1940) [4:01]

Aaron Copland wrote this stirring fanfare in part as a result of an equally stirring speech by the then US Vice-President Henry A Wallace. As part of the 1940s musical war effort, fanfares were written to start off each musical concert held. Although many were written, Copland's remains the only one anyone remembers. Copland liked it so much he held onto it for the fourth movement of his Third Symphony four years later.

Everyone knows it, so there is little point describing it here. It's one of those pieces that is so well-used that it is almost falling into cliche (almost like Barber's Adagio for Strings, really) but stays on the correct side simply because it's that good. And it is that good. That's why everyone uses it; The Scottish Parliament, Bob Dylan, CBS Sports, Bill Clinton, the crew of the Shape Shuttle, The Rolling Stones Wanderers all start or started up to it, and for good reason. It's a uniquely rousing piece.

Unfortunately, it's also one hell of a challenge for a Mellotron. I think I get away with it, but time will tell. It is not the best instrument for reproducing brass, mostly because most of the brass recordings were hopelessly all over the map in terms of tuning, and the long sustained harmonised notes do tend to show it up for all its flaws. Those of you with the ears of a bat will notice that the piece - like others in this series - is transposed from the 'official' key. That's because if I tried to play it in that key not only would it require some notes well beyond the Mellotron's range but it would also - more seriously - show up a few of the more egregious tuning issues that this dear old keyboard has.

Instrumentation: Mellotron M400 Playing

also sampled orchestral percussion

FLAC version here.