Monday, January 12, 2009

Inauguration stuff

I'm very excited about the upcoming inauguration.  I just saw an announcement of an opening celebration 2 days before the actual ceremony, to be held at the Lincoln Memorial.  Classical music is represented at this event by Renee Fleming, but what I find quite interesting is that Bishop Gene Robinson will be giving the invocation.  He is the openly-gay Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire, whose elevation to the episcopate caused a riot among conservative Anglicans across the world, though mostly in Africa and in the US.  The selection of Robinson++ should calm the fears of many who were concerned about Rick Warren, and apparently I am correct.

At the actual inauguration ceremony, a new piece composed by John Williams will be performed by Itzhak Perlman (violin), Gabriela Montero (piano), Anthony McGill (clarinet) and Yo-Yo Ma (cello).  They will play between the oaths of Biden and Obama, so a very prominent spot.  I wish someone other than John Williams had been picked to compose the work, I'm afraid it will be rather Olympic in nature.  But then, his music in the film Munich was very interesting, so maybe I'm selling him short.


Daniel Wolf said...


It's interesting that you use the phrase "classical music is represented by..." as if it is an interest group, rather than a repertoire with it own characteristics, ambitions, and diversity and a particular suitability to certain public uses. I suspect that once (if it isn't already) classical music gets stuck into such a quota role rather than a functional role, the marginalization of the repertoire — for better or worse — in public life can scarcely be reversed.

Scott said...

My choice of that phrase was more for humor than for a political statement: political event and representation. Plus to acknowledge an aspect of the ceremony that is part of my normal blogging purview. But in the back of my mind there was also the relief that they actually did choose some classical music, and the sadness that I have to have the fear and relief that classical music is being used in such an event. I wasn't thinking in terms of quotas, rather that public opinion tends toward popular music. I certainly won't be lobbying for larger numbers at official ceremonies, I don't think the arts should work that way.

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