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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

Third Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1991)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
6 Minutes

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Programme Note
Joan Tower Third Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1991)
Composer Note:

Third Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman was commissioned by Carnegie Hall in collaboration with the Empire Brass quintet and members of the New York Philharmonic brass section to help celebrate the hall’s 100th anniversary.

This fanfare is part of a trilogy of fanfares, the first of which was written for the Houston Symphony [for the sesquicentennial of the state of Texas]. Knowing Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and being a great admirer of his music, I decided not only to write a tribute to him, but to balance things out a little by writing something for women—in this case, for women who are adventurous and take risks. It was recently released on an album of American music recorded by the Saint Louis Symphony on BMG/RCA. The second fanfare was commissioned by Absolute Vodka, and premiered at Avery Fisher Hall in 1989. That piece is dedicated to Joan Briccetti, general manager of the Saint Louis Symphony. The third fanfare is scored for two brass quintets that are partially antiphonal. There are motifs that are tossed back and forth, between the two horns and the four trumpets, and between the two quintets.

The Third Fanfare is dedicated with admiration and love to Frances Richard, Director of the Symphony and Concert Department at ASCAP.

—Joan Tower

  • Ensemble
    Colorado Symphony Orchestra
    Marin Alsop
    Koch Intl. Classics:
Tower composed the first and most famous of [the Fanfares] for the Houston Symphony’s fanfare project in 1986, then wrote the additional ones in 1989 and 1991. The success of No. 1 was assured by its title alone, but it’s also a good piece in the tradition of Copland’s "Fanfare for the Common Man." What is interesting about the other two is how Tower found a way to make this public genre a means for personal expression: The first two begin quietly, and the third, which lasts five minutes, traces a real emotional journey.
RIchard Dyer, The Boston Globe,24/07/2002
More introspective than its predecessors, [the third Fanfare] produces some attractively impressive and arrestingly original sonorities.
Bill Zakariasen, The Daily News,07/05/1991
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