Uploaded on Jan 29, 2012
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From "Works Volume One- 1977" (at the Olympic Stadium Montreal)
- Keith Emerson: Yamaha GX1 polyphonic synthesizer
- Greg Lake: 8-string bass
- Carl Palmer: percussion, drums
"Fanfare for the Common Man" is a 20th-century American classical music work by American composer Aaron Copland. The piece was written in 1942 for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under conductor Eugene Goossens. It was inspired in part by a famous speech made earlier in the same year where vice president Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the dawning of the "Century of the Common Man". Several cover versions have been made and fragments of work has appeared in many subsequent US and British cultural productions, such as in the musical scores of movies.
Copland's fanfare was used in 1977 by British rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer on the album Works Volume 1. The track became one of the band's biggest hits when an edited version was released as a single that year. It peaked at No. 2 in the UK. Keith Emerson had long been an admirer of Copland's American style, previously using Copland's Hoedown on the band's Trilogy album in 1972.
In a BBC Radio interview, Copland relayed his reaction to the piece:
"Interviewer: Just before I left London, I heard a piece of music of yours, Fanfare for the Common Man, which had been taken by a rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. How do you feel about that?
Copland: Well, (laughs) of course it's very flattering to have one's music adopted by so popular a group, and so good a group as Emerson, Lake & Palmer. A lot depends on what they do with what they take, and naturally since I have a copyright on such material, they're not able to take it without my permission; so that in each case, where I have given my permission, there was something that attracted me about the version that they perform, which made me think I'd like to allow them to release it. Of course, I always prefer my own version best, but (laughs) what they do is really around the piece, you might say, rather than a literal transposition of the piece, and they're a gifted group. In that particular case, I allowed it to go by because when they first play it, they play it fairly straight and when they end the piece, they play it very straight. What they do in the middle, I'm not sure exactly how they connect that with my music but (laughs) they do it someway, I suppose. But the fact that at the beginning and the end it really is the Fanfare for the Common Man gave me the feeling I ought to allow them to do it as they pleased.
Interviewer: I know your original work is just over three minutes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer have managed to turn it into a nine minute work.
Copland: (Laughs) Exactly, well, it's those six minutes in the middle...(laughs)"
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