Term Paper on Aaron Copland

Essay by Aaron WarnerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 1995

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Aaron Copland was the embodiment of what a composer can hope to become. Copland was very much in touch not only with himself and his feelings, but with the audience he intended to reach. Very few composers have a concrete idea of what 'types' of people they wish their music to reach. Copland was one of these few. The 'Common Man' was the central part of much of his volumes of music strived to reach. Copland felt that, '. .everyone should have a chance to see things through this music. Limiting who can understand it only limits your usefulness' Throughout his 75+ years as a composer and conductor, he touched the lives and hearts of as many people as he could.

Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1900 to fairly affluent parents. Because of his family's financial status, he started formally training as a teen, and moved to Paris where he became the first American student of Nadia Boulanger. It was here that Copland developed much of his neo-classical style. Although he enjoyed the precise structure that Boulanger had taught him, Copland's heart was truly in creating music that people other than musicians could appreciate. It was upon his return to America in 1924 that he decided that he would write '. . .truly American music.' He traveled throughout America, getting a taste of what the 'common man' was listening to. During these travels he strayed into Mexico, and wrote the highly successful El Salon Mexico. A quote from the fall of 1932 sums up his intentions in writing this piece: 'Any composer who goes outside his native land wants to return bearing musical souvenirs.' This is exactly what he did. The piece is a lively adaptation of Frances Toor's Cancionero Mexicano, with a very loose...