Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fanfare for Who?

What would Aaron Copland think about his Fanfare for the Common Man and the "Hoe Down" from his Rodeo being used to introduce the organizer and main speaker of the most inappropriate "faux" media event I can think of in current American history?

Of course the broadcasters will have to pay ASCAP fees to Copland's publishers, but it is just a pittance. The money funding this kind of nonsense flows like oil.

I wonder what all those silly people who are bowing to their self-ordained (and highly-funded) prophet, who is trying to stand in (and trivialize) the shoes of a great international hero (who was an actual minister), would think of this music that they identify as "typically-American," if they knew it was written by a composer who was sympathetic to socialism (he actually voted communist in 1936), was extremely smart, was openly gay, and non-religiously Jewish?

Disclaimer: This musical observation is being reported second hand. I couldn't bring myself to turn on the television, even for a peek, but Michael did--only long enough to witness the way that music can be bought and used in ways that a composer, who is no longer living, could never imagine.

UPDATE: If you have an inkling about similarities of the rhetoric used by these people in these rallies, and on television and radio, to a time in history that we should never forget, read this post for a lucid reality check.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I went to the post your link showed. It is obvious that the event and its participants irk some folks politically, just as the converse is also true. But, that is rough-and-tumble politics from both sides. Personally I am not partial to either.

Citing Copland's opinions of 1936 does not offer me much insight into your musical assumptions. WIKI says, "In any case, beginning in 1950, Copland, who had been appalled at Stalin's persecution of Shostakovich and other artists, began resigning from participation in leftist groups. He decried the lack of artistic freedom in the Soviet Union, and in his 1954 Norton lecture he asserted that loss of freedom under Soviet Communism deprived artists of 'the immemorial right of the artist to be wrong.' He began to vote Democratic, first for Stevenson and then for Kennedy." That is, the socialist, gay and fallen-away Jew you characterize as such in the post changed his view, and did so rather publicly.

In his editing of the texts for the Lincoln Portrait, Copland chose this per NPR:

He said: "It is the eternal struggle between two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world. It is the same spirit that says 'you toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation, and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle." [Lincoln-Douglas debates, 15 October 1858]

He chose that Lincoln quote for reasons all his own -- and based on his musical assumptions which we might glean from this choice.

I don't care for politics much, and especially the vehemence which accompanies it on both sides. What seems sure is that Copland as a composer wrote music for Americans -- not just some Americans based on political affiliation. You ask in your title, "Fanfare for Who?" I think the answer is -- us. All of us.

Or is the underlying musical assumption of your question that his music should not speak to all Americans?