Tuesday, January 20, 2009

watching it, part 2

Brent's laptop battery died at that point, so it was just as well that being overcome with emotion I couldn't really concentrate on commenting.

So glad they used his full name. Liked hearing the Hussein as part of the oath-swearing.

Liked that they had a little liturgical oops, too. Clearly, Obama wanted to get it done right. Not just a "say the words after he says the words" routine matter. It's an oath, let's take it seriously, let's get it right. Words really can mean things, if you let them.

Liked the poem, but I found listening to it sortof like hearing James T. Kirk's long-lost twin sister at a poetry recital. Probably had to do with her instructions about acoustics or whatever, but I was very distracted by the halting nature of the phrases as delivered, even though I quite liked the poem as a text. Will have to read it again as text.

Was bummed that no prayer was being led by a woman until Rev Joseph Lowery prayed. That man made me weep (again) and then laugh. Like Dolly, "laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." What a perfect, perfect way to end it. Brilliant.

Now: to get to that world-changing business...


Justin Burton said...

I loved the poem. Loved that she didn't back off of the section about the country being built and maintained on slaves' backs. Loved the turn to love as the greatest word at the end.

Oddly, I often find that poets aren't the best at reading their own work. Literary poetry, perhaps, has become such an academic affair that recitation has slipped from its being...or else migrated to other kinds of poetry, like hip hop.

SteveA said...

Say Justin, the piece of music, ascribed to John Williams, that Yo Yo Ma and Perlman et al played had the same theme as Aaron Copeland's Appalacian Spring. How do/did they handle copyright on that? I know that theme was based on a Shaker tune, ultimately. I was fortunate that I was able to watch an hour of the ceremony where I work.

Justin Burton said...

I don't know the whole history of that particular Shaker tune, but CNN called it "Simple Gifts," and those are the words I've always heard sung to it. The Copland thing shouldn't be a problem, since he and Williams really were just making different arrangements of the same tune; as long as Williams's isn't the same as Copland's then it isn't Appalachian Spring. CNN also was careful to say that Williams "arranged" the piece, which is always an important distinction in this sort of case.

With such a unique instrumentation, there's no part of Copland's piece that could've been played today without being rearranged itself. But it's odd to me that on a day so focused on American history and so intent on making connections between today's inauguration and past events there was no mention of Copland's Appalachian Spring. He's usually the paragon of American music...guess this is John Williams's show now, for better or worse.

JTB said...

and apparently I don't have to be bummed about a total lack of female pastor representation:


SteveA said...

Sharon Watkins of the Disciples of Christ gave the sermon this morning at the National Prayer Service. She was the first women ever to do so. Can be viewed at this site starting 38 minutes into the video.