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Classical Notes

More on the Inaugural Music

Posted at 8:25 AM on January 23, 2009 by Rex Levang (1 Comments)

In response to a previous inaugural post, reader Richard asked, Was that piece composed based on one by Aaron Copland?

Quick explanation: composer John Williams did write the piece, but used the old tune "Simple Gifts," which became well-known when Copland used it in his own "Appalachian Spring." And Williams definitely employed some other Copland-esque touches.

But let's give credit to the man who actually wrote "Simple Gifts" in the 19th century, a member of the Shaker faith named Joseph Brackett. Judging by the exposure his melody has received, Brackett is one of the greatest one-hit wonders in music.

There's been lots of commentary on the piece; for just one smattering, check out the Performance Today blog, Today's Fredlines.

However: all of that commentary and critiquing of the piece itself is likely to be overshadowed by the latest news: because of the cold weather, the players were synching to a recording.*

*NY Times; registration required.


Comments (1)

I understand the classical music (unusual quartet) that played at the inaugeration was actually "lipping" the music which was recorded because the cold weather made it impossible to keep instruments in tune outdoors. Interesting red neck on the clarinet! I don't miss MPR as much as you might expect when I winter in AZ, and I certainly don't miss the egotistical Michale Barone and his organ program. Fortunatelly KNXR has a good classical program available on Sunday nights in Rochester. John Zeck is on KBAC frequently and they havwe a long Mozart sesion everyday that I enjoy. KJZZ is practically identical to the news station in MN

Posted by tom schattenberg | January 27, 2009 10:26 AM