"Twenty Fanfares for the Common Man"
COPLAND:  Fanfare for the Common Man.  Ceremonial Fanfare.  Inaugural Fanfare.  HANSON:  Chorale and Fanfare.  Fanfare for the signal Corps.  HARRIS:  Fanfare for the Forces.  COWELL:  Fanfare for Latin Allies.  WAGENAAR:  Fanfare for Airmen.  GOULD:  Fanfare for Freedom.  Columbian Fanfares.  TAYLOR:  Fanfare for Russia.  BERNSTEIN:  Fanfare for JFK.  Anniversary Fanfare.  Shivaree.  FULEIHAN:  Fanfare for the Medical Corps.  THOMSON:  Fanfare for France.  PISTON:  Ceremonial Fanfare.  Fanfare for the Fighting French.  CRESTON:  Fanfare for Paratroopers.  GOOSSENS:  Fanfare for the Merchant Marine
London Philharmonic Orch/Jorge Mester, cond.

KOCH INTERNATIONAL 3-7012  (F) (DDD)  TT:  48:08

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.

Although the album title is "Twenty Fanfares for the Common Man," this is misleading as only the first of the three by Copland has that actual title.  All of the others are for various other military groups:  Signal Corps, Latin Allies, Airmen, Freedom, Russia, medical Corps. etc.  Perhaps in an attempt to fill out the CD and make it more attractive to collectors, also included are other fanfares by Copland, Hanson, Gould, Piston and Bernstein.  These are interspersed with the others; it might have been more effective to have them as a group at the end of the CD.

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)