A certain amount of artistic license with the Star Spangled Banner, even in ordinary circumstances, is understandable. It is admirable, even, when it adds subtlly to the pride of experience of hearing the country's National Anthem. Done properly, with the skills of the artist never overshadowing respect for the music, it glorifies the song, the listeners, and the country... and, though least of all, it glorifies the singer.
And yes, there are certain places where the usual sensibilities do not apply, e.g., the open field in Woodstock, New York. And there are certain contexts where the rules are easily understood to be different, e.g., a musical event of such size and variety that it could not help but be the defining moment of the political and cultural changes of its time. And there are certain artists who possess unique skills that no other musician can match, along with the inspiration to use them, e.g., Jimi Hendrix... Put all these elements together, and taking great liberties with The Star Spangled Banner can be a triumphant musical restatement, driven by and inspiring patriotism in new ways. In such very rare cases, taking great liberties is a show of genius and a show of respect.
An ordinary football stadium is not such a place. The beginning of an ordinary football game is not such a context. And as of now, I don't know who the vocal quartet was that performed at tonight's Patriot's - Jets NFL game, but they were not in the league of Jimi Hendrix. This was not a rare case, and there was no show of genius, not to mention no show of respect.
What I heard tonight in the broadcast of this football game took license far beyond any reasonable limit..
The continual stream of melodic deviations and flourishes taken by the singers was so great that they could have glorified only the singers themselves... if those flourishes and deviations had actually worked. In actuality, though, they were so discordant in several places that they didn't even succeed in that.. They only brought more disrespect on themselves, while showing disrespect to the song, the listeners, and the country.
It was offensive.
I blame the Super Bowl, and other major sporting events, where promoters have created too much of a spotlight on the singers of the national anthem, encouraging them to push the envelope too much, taking more liberties than appropriate -- though usually at least with a level of musicality that keeps it from being offensive.
P.S. It's a pure coincidence that I've mentioned Jimi Hendrix in two posts today, after never having done so in this blog before. I think.
1. Chris Linfoot11/14/2008 03:42:45 PM
Over here, this peculiar habit Americans have of publicly mutilating their national anthem through the self indulgent addition of ludicrous trills and flourishes at the end of every phrase is regarded as something of a cliché.
Oh say can you seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
We don't do that with God Save the Queen.
2. ninest12304/23/2016 04:47:32 AM