"Twenty Fanfares for the Common Man"
During the war years of 1942-44, Eugene Goossens, then conductor of the
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, commissioned nineteen fanfares from various
composers, primarily American. It was suggested that each composer use
certain instruments: four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, one
tuba, timpani and percussion -- disregarded by some of the composers. Of
the nineteen composers only twelve are to be heard on this fascinating CD;
apparently the remainder have been lost. It is unfortunate of this is the
case, as there would have been room for all or most of them on this CD, and to
have more of them together would be a plus.
A "fanfare" should be a brief, brassy ceremonial introduction and some of the composers have provided just that, with imagination and grandeur. I particularly enjoyed Virgil Thomson's, in which he interpolates Yankee Doodle, and the one by Goossens, based on two sailor songs, appropriate as it is for the Merchant Marines. No question though that the grandest of all is Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, here given an intensely noble, measured reading of great impact.
Aside from a few minor tentative brass entrances, performances are expert, the digital recording, made in 1980, superb in capturing the rich brass sonorities. ackaging leaves something to be desired; the accompanying booklet seems to be a reprint of the original LP jacket, there is no listing of works on the CD in the booklet, and individual CD tracks are not listed anywhere correctly (i.e. Copland's three are listed as track 1 when actually there are three tracks). Included are original program notes for the premieres by the Cincinnati Symphony. Brief playing time, but a worthy issue.
R.E.B. (May 2000)