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So I guess I wasn’t the only one to notice that the arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner” being played at the Olympics is a little less strident than usual. As the Washinton Post article describes, at “the rockets’ red glare” portion of the piece, instead of triumphant war trumpets, we get thinly orchestrated strings. It’s quite beautiful, I think. It kind of reminds me of Barber’s Adagio.

Not knowing how the process works, I assumed that someone on the US Olympic Committee had gotten sensitive to the worldwide impression of Americans as bomastic jerks and tried to make our image a little more humble. Not so. It turns out this arrangement was written by a Czech-Canadian, who was chosen to re-orchestrate all of the anthems for this Olympics. That seems like a weird approach, and apparently even the Canadians aren’t too happy about a jazzed-up version of “O Canada,” but I love it that a Canadian wrote a kinder, gentler “Star Spangled Banner” for us.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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