Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

January 8, 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
Local News
Business Marquee
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism Native American Teens Get Taste of College Legendary Actor James Garner Dies Ukraine Rebels: Black Boxes Will Be Returned Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Do you believe Israel's invasion of Gaza is justified?

Yes
No
     View Results
Video
Sports Pulse
Must Read
Must Read