Once again the world of American music is celebrating Aaron Copland. In part, I suppose, all the attention now being given to the recent publication of the first volume of the composer’s memoirs[1] comes about because music lovers seem to have so little else to celebrate. And yet to begin on such a rueful note is to ignore a simple fact: Copland is cherished as a serious composer because his music is loved by a serious audience which wants to hear many of his pieces over and over again. There are some, doubtless intellectuals educated beyond their intelligence, who will maintain that the same can be said of Frank Sinatra and other artifacts of our public culture. We ought to allow them their opinion—on the condition that they confine their attentions to those possibly attractive amusements which they, and most assuredly not we, truly love.


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