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Copland: Old American Songs

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: the best songs may be the ones you don’t write…

Aaron Copland arranged his two sets of Old American Songs from a number of sources, including campaign songs, popular ballads, children’s songs, and hymn tunes. They were initially written for voice and piano, with the first set completed in 1950. They proved so popular that Copland created several more versions. The song “The Dodger” originated in the presidential campaign of 1884 between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine. It was one of the dirtiest political campaigns in American history. The outcome was among the closest presidential elections ever. Cleveland ultimately won with less than a majority of the popular vote, and the outcome was not even known until several days after the election when New York finally reported that Cleveland had won the state by a mere 1,149 votes. This made him the first Democratic presidential candidate to win an election since 1856.

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