Several years ago my wife and I attended the annual music festival in Santa Cruz. The year we attended our older daughter, Jacqueline, a flautist, was playing in the festival. The year we attended the festival was dedicated to the music of Aaron Copland.
As part of the festival program, Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” was played in the town square. My wife and I arrived in time to obtain seating on one of the benches facing the bandstand. As we seated ourselves, we noted Copland seating himself along with the crowd. I don’t know if anyone recognized the man. He was the common man. Not until the fanfare was completed had someone recognized Aaron and urged to stand and take a bow.
A highlight of the festival was Copland conducting “Appalachian Spring.” I’ve always had a personal love affair with Copland’s music. His “Appalachian Spring” has the sweep and grandeur of the West and the plains of the Midwest, let alone Appalachia. Listening to it, one can envision clear skies, spring flowers, rivulets and open space, America before the age of pollution. Like Leonard Bernstein, he left his mark in the world of music. Like Bernstein, he helped bring American music to the heights of the concert stage. Both will be sadly missed.