Fanfare for the Common Man
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
In the first volume of his autobiography (Copland, 1900 through 1942, St. Martin’s/Marek, 1984), the composer recounted the genesis of his popular Fanfare for the Common Man: “Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, had written to me at the end of August  about an idea he wanted to put into action for the 1942-43 concert season. During World War I he had asked British composers for a fanfare to begin each orchestral concert. It had been so successful that he thought to repeat the procedure in World War II with American composers. [Goossens’ additional requests inspired a total of ten fanfares from such other notable musicians as Creston, Cowell, Piston, Thomson, Milhaud and Gould. ]
Goossens wrote: ‘It is my idea to make these fanfares stirring and significant contributions to the war effort, so that I suggest you give your fanfare a title, as for instance, “A Fanfare for Soldiers, or for Airmen or Sailors.” I am asking this favour in a spirit of friendly comradeship, and I ask you to do it for the cause we all have at heart. . . .’ As with Lincoln Portrait, I was gratified to participate in a patriotic activity. Goossens, a composer himself, suggested the instrumentation of brass and percussion and a length of about two minutes. He intended to open the concert season in October with my fanfare, so I had no time to lose.
“The challenge was to compose a traditional fanfare, direct and powerful, yet with a contemporary sound. . . . The music was not terribly difficult to compose, but working slowly as was my custom, I did not have the fanfare ready to send to Goossens until November. The piece has been Fanfare for the Common Man for so long that it is surprising to see on my sketches that other titles were considered: Fanfare for a Solemn Ceremony, for the Day of Victory, for Our Heroes, for the Rebirth of Lidice, for the Spirit of Democracy, for the Paratroops, for Four Freedoms.
After I decided on Fanfare for the Common Man and sent the score to Goossens, I think he was rather puzzled by the title. He wrote, ‘Its title is as original as its music, and I think it is so telling that it deserves a special occasion for its performance. If it is agreeable to you, we will premiere it 14 March [sic] 1943 at income tax time. . . .’ [The income tax deadline was changed to April after the War.] I was all for honoring the common man at income tax time. “Since that occasion, Fanfare has been played by many and varied ensembles, ranging from the U.S. Air Force Band to the popular Emerson, Lake, and Palmer group. . . I confess that I prefer Fanfare in the original version, and I later used it in the final movement of my Third Symphony.”
Here is some more on Aaron Copland.
The arrangement is for 10 piece ensemble with a large amount of percussion including tam-tam.
0.0.0.0 — 18.104.22.168 — timp.perc:tam-t/BD
Surrey Brass use the composer's original arrangement. It's in one short movement, playing duration, about 2 minutes. It's not hard to play, but it is hard to play well, especially live, where everyone knows where the split notes have come from!