Friday, December 19, 2008

Inaugural notes

Political reportage lacking at least one instance of bollixed musical terminology is, these days, a squandered opportunity. (The late R.W. "Johnny" Apple of The New York Times was, I believe, the last musically literate political reporter. Campaigns routinely began "rising to a crescendo" once Apple was no longer covering them.) So we shouldn't be too surprised to read, on Marc Ambinder's political blog for The Atlantic . . .

. . . that at the presidential inaugural ceremonies for Barack Obama, "John Williams will conduct Itzhak Perlman on the violin and Yo-Yo Ma on the cello." This, after "Aretha Franklin sings Obama onto the podium."

Hmm. After a round of Googling, we learn (via McClatchy Newspapers' Washington Bureau) that Perlman, Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Gabriela Montero will play a selection by "composer-arranger" Williams. Still not clear whether the composer-arranger will beat time or deliver cues for the quartet.

Of course, whatever Williams and friends perform would be an anticlimax if Obama actually is sung onto the podium – wafted on wings of song? – by Aretha.