In 1942 during World War II, conductor Eugene Goossens commissioned fanfares from several prominent American composers to encourage support for the war effort. Out of all the fanfares written, Copland’s Fanfare For The Common Man is the only active repertoire that remains to this day and is the composer’s best-known concert opener.
The piece is orchestrated only for the brass and the percussion and showcases a pure and vibrant sound. The opening mood is majestic, with clashes of percussion. Then, the trumpets enter in unison, sounding the main motif of the fanfare. After more percussion, the trumpets are joined by the horns and later, by the trombones. As each instrument joins the orchestra, the melody becomes more powerful, with interesting harmonies and textures, until the fanfare culminates in a series of massive chords from the brass.