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'Tis a gift

I don't like hype. Never have. In the 1970s I hated the Beatles, in the early '80s I hated Billy Joel, and to this day I still dislike Friends and Seinfeld. (I've changed my mind about the Beatles and Billy Joel since then.) If it gets that much attention, it can't possibly be that good. So, it's kind of predictable that I didn't stop to watch the inauguration yesterday, which was possibly the most hyped political event in my lifetime.

But this meant I missed Itzhak Perlman and Yo-yo Ma performing John Williams' Air and Simple Gifts at the inauguration. I'd heard it was incredible, and when I finally saw the YouTube video of it, I had to agree. It's a beautiful piece of music, and the musicians have such joy in their faces. The clarinetist is Anthony McGill, and Gabriela Montero is the pianist; their part in it is just as important as the superstars'. It became an instant favorite of mine on YouTube, and I now kind of regret not seeing it in its context of introducing the swearing-in of President Obama and his inaugural address. (See also Inauguration quartet simply filled with hope.)

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
bullmanx
Jan. 21st, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
I loved it too - is there anyplace to download that version yet other than utube?
songdogmi
Jan. 21st, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
I haven't found a download for it yet. Maybe at whitehouse.gov?
bullmanx
Jan. 21st, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
if you come across it, will you give me the heads up please?
songdogmi
Jan. 22nd, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
I will, yes.
ferndalealex
Jan. 21st, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not a deeply sophisticated music fan, so I can only say that it was very nice.
songdogmi
Jan. 22nd, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Music is too important to leave to musicians alone. If you liked it, that's plenty sufficient. One can know all the technical details behind how the piece was constructed and what the effects were, but it's not necessary. Just listening is enough.
urso
Jan. 21st, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Another things that was great about it was that it turned 12 noon during the performance, so Obama officially became president while listening to this.
songdogmi
Jan. 22nd, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
That was kind of cool, wasn't it? The new era dawned during the piece, so to speak.
twobraids
Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
I was rather entranced by this piece. I especially enjoyed the joyous smile of Yo-yo Ma near the beginning of his performance.

I was saddened, however, to read the review of the piece in the Washington Post this morning (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/20/AR2009012003560.html). Who shit in this woman's corn flakes?
songdogmi
Jan. 22nd, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
Wow, that review... Probably the best I can say is that I respectfully disagree with her assessment. I don't know anything about her credentials as a music reviewer, so I shouldn't say more than that.

Yo-yo Ma's smile was infectious. The performers all looked joyous and happy (if it's not redundant to say both).
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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