English: Aaron Copland
English: Aaron Copland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m concluding the playlist’s “Independence Week” celebration today by featuring one of the all-time giants among American composers, Aaron Copland.

For someone born in Brooklyn, of Lithuanian Jewish descent, Copland had a marvelous grasp of the musical flavor of the American West, lending a style to it that others would follow in the years to come.  When someone once asked him how he captured the West so well, Copland remarked, “It was just a feat of imagination.”

But his music went well beyond painting a picture of the West.  He gave us brilliantly American pieces such as “Lincoln Portrait” and “Fanfare For the Common Man,” and he gave us his “Third Symphony” — the most popular American symphonic piece of the 20th century.

Copland’s name was among a list of 151 artists the FBI had with supposed ties to the Communist Party during the McCarthy years, but that inclusion was largely scoffed at when the patriotism shown in his compositions was used as an example of how much he cared about his country.

We will continue to see more great American music composers, but there will never be another Aaron Copland.


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