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I was disappointed by John Williams music for the Inaguration;

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:54 PM
Original message
I was disappointed by John Williams music for the Inaguration;
I understand it's hard to write a march for a quartet, but I was expecting something distinctive and new. The piece yesterday sounded like too many versions written for high school orchestra.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. I prefer Copeland's, sure, but I thought it very nice.
"Simple Gifts" is a Shaker hymn, though, and not a march. I thought it was very nice, and I freakin' loved the clarinetist. He was amazing. They all were, but I really liked his playing.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. The musicians were fantastic. Yo Yo Ma in particular was having a ball!
I thought it was a nice touch to show the threads that make up "American" music by the choice of performers. It's just too bad that John Williams apparently felt the need to go for a staid, academic score and suppressed his talent for writing popular themes. Contrast his theme from the Patriot, used frequently by Obama on election day and after.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I don't know. I've always loved that hymn.
'Tis a gift to be simple,
'Tis a gift to be free,
'Tis a gift to go down
Where you want to be.

I've always loved that.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #13
22. It wasn't a bad piece of music, just not what I expected.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #22
33. It sounded funereal to me, but they played it well and it was one of the best of the "entertainment"
part of the ceremony..
the choral groups & military bands were good too


the poem :puke:
poor Aretha :puke:
the religiosos :puke:

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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
32. My son just took up clarinet and when the clarinetist was playing, his eyes were huge and
glued to the tube when I replayed it on DVR.

He's so proud of his instrument and was just awestruck to see that quartet.
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POR Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
2. I agree
Why didn't they use a full orchestra. If an event ever called for a formal orchestra, yesterday was it.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Williams would have had to hire an orchestrator...
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 01:59 PM by KansDem
Why didn't they use a full orchestra.

As far as I know, he doesn't orchestrate his works.

edited to use last name...
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
30. self deleted
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 03:06 PM by KansDem
posted in wrong place...
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. I wouldn't have wanted a full orchestra
That would've drowned out the brilliant sound of Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Pehlrman...
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
21. The theme was simplicity
A full orchestra would not be in keeping with the theme.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. And in the middle "Variations on a Shaker Theme"?
Sounded more like John Williams (one of my LEAST favorite composers) did some sampling.
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amitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. I just have always hated the "Simple Gifts" song, both tune and
lyrics. It's weird and creepy to me for some reason.
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
5. I was hoping that Jedi would come out and start fighting to it personally.
n.t.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. I thought they did great
Total class and well done ..... I like Copeland's version more
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. I wished they'd done Copeland, too.
He was one of our best ever.
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jkshaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
37. It was the result of variations on Copeland's
variations on the Shaker hymn.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. Pretty much most things written on demand
for special occasions, aren't.

They are functionally appropriate. Very majestic and soaring, sometimes. But artistic stretches..... nah. The best thing about that piece yesterday was the "Simple Gifts" interlude.
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
9. Really?
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 02:00 PM by Juniperx
I thought it was great. And I'm a tough crowd, being a metal head and all. I was taken up in the moment with Itzhak Perlman and Yo-yo Ma on the same stage, and the fugue-like quality brought about by their exchange.

Music is subjective. I wrote music critique for over seven years, and there's no rhyme or reason to the counts of those who agreed and why to those who did not.

Edited to say... the dude on clarinet freaking ROCKED!!! I'm going to go look him up.
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. I thought it was fucking fantastic
And my gothier-than-though industrial-lovin' self ain't the easiest to please either. I thought it flowed perfectly, and loved how you could almost choose to hear one instrument in particular or all of them together.
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Good point...
Yes, that weaving in and out and back and forth with the different instruments... just like a guitar solo that really grabs you by the short hairs :) Or makes the hair on your arms stand up and shimmy :)
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #18
34. That's how I saw it too--just the simple brilliance of a gorgeous tune in the hands of
extraordinary musicians. It made me sob--but then, I had been sobbing all through the ceremony, so...
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. I've long been a fan of Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and
Gabriela Montero. Anthony McGill has since been added to the list, and the four of them together...

Rick Warren only wishes he could evoke the divine in such a way.
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
11. Oh, but the performers -- so great.
Then there was Jon Stewart's Daily Show skit last night on how to clear 2.5 million people off of the Mall in record time: introduce a poet.
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ogneopasno Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
12. I thought it was great. Much better than the poem, and the musicians knew what they were doing and
having a blast.
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. it was calming to me....
but music does that to me..especially strings.
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Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
16. It just goes to show you that we always have to find something to be irritated about...
I'm just glad the things we're choosing are getting stupider and stupider. :+
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keith the dem Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
19. I thought this set the tone perfectly!
The joy in Yo-Yo's face was wonderful.
When we watched the concert on Sunday, we wondered why Yo-Yo wasn't there. His mission of unity worked so well into Sunday's theme. I was so happy to see why he was left out of Sunday's program, this was perfect...absolutely perfect.

I ran across this story about Anthony McGill, the fantastic clarinetist that was part of the ensemble:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/chi-01 ...

The whole performance was perfect for so many reasons: The ethnic rainbow of the ensemble, the jazz elements of the composition mixed with what could only be a pure American sound. The obvious references to Aaron Copland, an openly gay man who was blacklisted in the 1950's, the lyrics to Simple Gifts , the hymn that is the theme of the piece, beautifully echo both Obama's address and the poem recited later:

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

Refrain:

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

Refrain:

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

This was real relevant American art. Art is back!
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. Well said!
It was extremely relevant, to the art of it all, and to the Obama theme of keeping things simple, homey, and all about the people.

This was one of the first tunes I learned to play on the flute... it gives me chills to think about it and how it touched me way back then.

Good post!
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
23. I thought it was outstanding.
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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
25. i loved it. thought it was beautiful. n/t
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. So did I and I'm a music heathen. n/t
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baldingrockwarlord2 Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
26. I was more disappointed by the poet.
While her poem "may have been" good, I'll never know because she was so uninspiring in her delivery. She sounded like she is used to reading minutes at board meetings and conventions, rather than giving her own words the life breath and wings that they need.

See Maya Angelou for a great example of giving your own works life. She is truly awe inspiring not only in her writing, but her delivery as well.

I enjoyed the musical quartet and the customized piece they did.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Here's a sample of the type of music I expected:
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. I trhink the slow delivery was the problem. I had a hard time following from
line to line although individual phrases stood out for me. But then, I'm more used to reading than hearing poetry. Also, she may have paced her words because of the public address system. Women's voices can be harder to hear than men's.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:09 PM
Response to Original message
31. I was disappointed, too. They should've played something like this:

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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
36. John Williams is a journeyman composer, so you know right off the bat what you're getting...
...when you commission a piece.

Sounds like you're criticizing Williams for being Williams.
Fair enough, I guess.

My only beef was with who was mixing the sound. Some of the parts of the work were lost in the mix.
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sfam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. A Journeyman w/10 Grammys, 5 Oscars and over 25 Oscar Nominations??? Please...The song was great.
Your definition of "Journeyman" is clearly different from the rest of those speaking English. How many others do you label Journeymen who have these kinds of credentials? Think of the insane number of memorable compositions the guy has made. It's almost a waste to consider giving him for more Oscars at this point, as pretty much most of what he writes could qualify. This, I think, is why he has only won 5.
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. I didn't use the word as a pejorative.
Journeyman: a craftsman: a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft

John Williams IS a skilled craftsman. That he has won the praise of his peers proves this.

Just because a piece of music is memorable doesn't make it good. Jingles are memorable.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. The sound truly sucked.
I'll be looking around for a cleaner version.
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