The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Tell The Ear what music he should post on the Fourth of July? | July 3, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Today, the stock markets, banks and many businesses are closed in observance of the Fourth of July.

American Flag


But Saturday is the real Independence Day for the United States of America.

Now, The Ear has some ideas about what classical music to celebrate the event -– and the choices do NOT include the “1812 Overture” by Peter Tchaikovsky or the “Marseillaise,” the French national anthem that started during the French Revolution. Maybe one of the overtures by Ludwig van Beethoven or an aria by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Giuseppe Verdi would do. Try and see if you can convince me.

But the Ear thinks it would be much more patriotic to have something by an American composer – say Charles Ives (below top) or Aaron Copland (below bottom), William Schuman or Samuel Barber.

Charles Ives BIG

aaron copland

Or maybe Roy Harris or Leonard Bernstein, Joan Tower (below top) or Jennifer Higdon (below bottom) -– would be appropriate and a good choice.


Higdon-and-Beau-Candace DiCarlo

But here is your choice to play DJ.

Leave your choice -– with a YouTube link, if possible -– in the COMMENT section.

Then I will decide which choice is most appropriate and best, and post a YouTube video of the work on Saturday to mark the real Fourth of July, the real Independence Day.

Thanks for your help.

I know I have some very knowledgeable readers, so I am looking forward to the seeing and hearing their suggestions.




  1. I nominate Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait in a performance by the National Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein with narration by Aaron Copland in celebration of Copland’s 80th birthday. You can’t get any more American than that! Copland is a better narrator than I had expected from a composer (as opposed to an actor). Copland’s choice of text from Lincoln’s writings and speeches during the Civil War are timeless and deeply inspiring. Here’s the link:

    By the way, Scott Teeple will lead the UW Summer Band in a performance of Lincoln Portrait at 7:00 on July 9 in the Camp Randall Memorial park across Monroe Street from UW Credit Union. The entire 60 minute program is a celebration of the 150 anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Camp Randall’s role in the conflict. [This anniversary is another argument in support of selecting Lincoln Portrait to celebrate the 2015 July 4.]

    It is my great joy to be playing euphonium in this concert!

    Comment by George Shook — July 3, 2015 @ 10:45 am

    • Nice choice. Who will be the narrator for your concert at Camp Randall?

      Comment by fflambeau — July 3, 2015 @ 9:47 pm

  2. Anything by Howard Hanson but especially his Symphony #2.

    Comment by fflambeau — July 3, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  3. I’ll vote Aaron Copland’s Symphony #3. I know it’s long, but I think it’s the best and most complete expression of America at its most optimistic.

    Comment by Tim Adrianson — July 3, 2015 @ 8:05 am

  4. I’d probably vote for Charles Ives’s Variations on “America” , as familiar as it is. I’d choose the organ version, but the orchestral version would be OK.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — July 3, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  5. John c. Adams.
    On the transmigration of souls

    Comment by Gretta gribble — July 3, 2015 @ 12:07 am

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