Tomorrow we choose a new President here in the U.S. It's an important day for this country. I can think of no other composer who more fabulously represents American classical music than Aaron Copland. Most people are familiar with the opening brass and percussion extravaganza in Fanfare for the Common Man, but there is much more to explore in Copland's diverse litany of work. Michael Tilson Thomas presents the Fanfare and several others in Keeping Score: Copland and the American Sound, part of a series both on DVD and re-running on PBS that I highly, highly recommend for anyone even vaguely interested in orchestral music. The DVDs are in our library system here in New England, but I'm hoping St. Nick drops them down the chimney for me in a few weeks.
One of my favorite Copland compositions is Appalachian Spring, another piece of music that is featured on Keeping Score. Copland uses Simple Gifts, a Shaker tune, in the middle of the piece, and this particular section is just plain inspirational. Enjoy, and go vote!