Though Copland didn't spend a lot of time in Hollywood, his influence there was long-lasting. Some of the classic Hollywood Western themes, such as The Magnificent Seven and The Big Country, were written by Copland proteges.
For that matter, next time you watch West Wing, listen to the music and see if Copland's influence isn't alive in the year 2000.
"Hoe-Down" from Rodeo has been a popular piece since its first hearing; it won a new level of popularity in this past decade, when it was heard on TV commercials presented by the beef industry, reminding viewers "what's for dinner."
One measure of how strongly Copland has come to be identified with what is quintessentially American:
In 1998, the film director Spike Lee decided to use Copland's music as the soundtrack for his movie He Got Game, about an inner-city basketball star. "When I listen to his music, I hear America, and basketball is America."
Unlike some American composers (Gershwin, Ellington, Bernstein), Copland never showed great interest in trying to bridge the worlds of classical music and mass popular culture. Perhaps the closest he ever came was when he authorized an abridged version of El Salón México to be used in an Esther Williams movie called Fiesta. The film has not achieved classic status, but it is notable for launching the career of Ricardo Montalban.
American composer Joan Tower took a cue from Copland in 1986, when she composed her Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.
Copland also received a very 1990s homage when the Macintosh folks used "Copland" as the code name for their proposed new operating system. (There was a related application called "Aaron.") Given the speedy changes in technology, Copland is now a thing of the past, though many of its features live on in Mac operating systems being used today.
By 1997 the name of Aaron Copland was pretty well known, so much so that a lot of people were confused when a movie entitled Copland was released. It had nothing to do with the composer; it was a police drama with Sylvester Stallone that took place in the land of the cops, or "Cop Land" - which is what the movie title was quickly changed to.
In the '70s, a lot of pop music fans got their first introduction to Copland courtesy of Emerson Lake & Palmer, who included Fanfare for the Common Man on their album Works, in a big extended arrangement.
Emerson Lake & Palmer weren't the only rockers to be beguiled by Copland - for a while, the Fanfare for the Common Man also served to introduce live Rolling Stones concerts.
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