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Finale from "Symphony No. 3"

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Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland (trans. Donald Patterson)

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General Info

Year: 1946 /
Duration: c. 13:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: U.S. Marine Band
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Alongside A Lincoln Potrait and his famous ballets Appalachian Spring and Billy the Kid, his monumental Symphony No. 3 can be considered the centerpiece of his contribution to American music.

The Koussevitzky Foundation commissioned the work in 1943, when Copland was at the very height of his compositional popularity. In the years leading up to the commission, Copland had already worked out several themes with the intention of crafting a large-scale symphony, but he still needed several more years to develop the piece. He finally completed the symphony on September 29, 1946, barely in time to prepare the music for the première by the Boston Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Serge Koussevitzky on October 18 of that year. As the conductor hurried off the stage following the performance, he declared, “There is no doubt about it—this is the greatest American symphony. It goes from the heart to the heart. [Copland] is the greatest American composer.”

The finale of the symphony is the longest and most complex of the four movements. The movement begins with a reworked version of the composer’s ubiquitous Fanfare for the Common Man, which was composed several years prior. While the fanfare serves as the nucleus of the movement, Copland spins the famous music into a series of grand symphonic variations surrounded by and intertwined with a collection of beautifully contrasting themes. When the original fanfare finally makes a triumphant return in the closing moments of the movement, it culminates in one of the most dramatic and powerful symphonic finales in the entire orchestral repertoire.

The work calls for a massive orchestra complete with extra winds, a large percussion battery, piano, celesta, and harps. This version for concert band of the Finale from Symphony No. 3 was crafted specifically for the United States Marine Band by the Chief Arranger for “The President’s Own,” Master Gunnery Sgt. Donald Patterson.

- Program Note from United States Marine Band concert program, 19 May 2019 (


State Ratings

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Works for Winds by This Composer