The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

January 4, 2013

Inaugural music: It's nice, but it's not a concert

(Continued)

Whether Obama will include music at his second inauguration, later this month, remains a matter of conjecture, but of course it's beside the point. State ceremonies at once exalt and diminish music. They offer a framework in which everyone can understand music's importance and desirability (Barber's "Adagio for Strings" at state funerals, Kiri te Kanawa singing "Let the Bright Seraphim" for Prince Charles's wedding to Lady Diana Spencer): It is there to support, embellish, illustrate or prolong the moment, or simply to offer some breathing room. But music in this context is also music at its most utilitarian: It represents art without necessarily being art. I was wrong, in 2009, to try to judge "Air and Simple Gifts" as if it were meant to be concert music; Williams, Ma and Perlman understood their assignment a lot better than I did when I first heard it.

Including music at the inauguration was an example of thinking outside the box: At past inaugurations, instrumental music had generally remained solely in the hands of the U.S. Marine Band, "The President's Own." It also turned out to be a pretty good indicator of the administration's general attitude toward the arts: at once extremely important and a little apart. Obama has emphasized the importance of the arts in education; he has hosted concerts at the White House devoted to a range of musical genres. But he is — certainly in the realm of classical music — an appreciator rather than a devotee. He very much wants to have the arts around; but for him personally — as for many, many American citizens — they are a pleasant adornment rather than an object of passion. He didn't have a favorite piece he particularly wanted played: He wanted something appropriate, and symbolic.

Text Only
Community News Network
E-edition
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Must Read