Saturday, August 23, 2008

The rocket's red glare

Our local paper reprinted this fascinating Washington Post piece by Philip Pennicott on the arrangements of the various national anthems that have been playing at medal ceremonies in Beijing.

I've been struck by the interesting, often unusual orchestrations you've heard as athletes stand on the podium, especially by the lovely strings and nimble, light arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner. And those with a better ear than mine probably recognized it, and maybe others, from the Athens games in 2004. The article mentions that in that improbably distant age, the podium version was criticized by conservative commentators for not being jingoistic enough.

The anthems have been a bit more on my radar screen than usual, thanks to this NPR story I heard a few weeks ago in which a music critic discusses the aesthetics of the genre.

1 comment:

the secret knitter said...

Interesting links. Is it me, or does NBC show a lot fewer non-US medal ceremonies than we used to get in Olympic coverage? I remember hearing other countries' anthems more. Now the ceremonies we see are almost exclusively for US gold medal winners or high profile events with US medalists (gymnastics, for instance). Seems like we're losing a significant flavor of the Games without them.