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January 4, 2013

Inaugural music: It's nice, but it's not a concert

(Continued)

And the attempt to use art as a symbol can often backfire. Works of art are hard to cubbyhole into pat, marketing-style categories; even the "Adagio for Strings," which was originally inspired by Virgil's "Georgics," is somewhat subversive when played as a work of mourning. And a work of art that is intended merely to stand for something arguably lacks the force or content of a work created from an expressive vision. Visual artists from Rodchenko to Warhol, Lichtenstein to Koons have played around with the art-as-symbol trope, but it's been rarer in composition; Shostakovich is the only composer who comes immediately to mind, and playing his music at an inauguration would be the supreme act of expressive ambiguity.

But it's open to question just how much force these symbols have in any case. One long-standing quasi-tradition, observed at many though not all inaugurations in the past 50-odd years, is the presence of an African American female vocalist to perform either the national anthem or another appropriately patriotic opus: Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman, Denyce Graves, Ethel Ennis and, finally, at Obama's first inauguration, Aretha Franklin. Inaugurations are apparently one of the few areas of public life in which women of color enjoy an overwhelming majority. It's not clear exactly what this symbolizes, either, though one thing is certain: Aretha, like Yo-Yo Ma, may have felt her musicmaking was affected by the cold weather, but she and her hat turned in a wonderful performance.

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New England News
Obituaries
  • Marie Rose (Robidoux) Audy

    LAWRENCE — Marie Rose (Robidoux) Audy, passed away at her home surrounded by her family, after suffering a stroke in April. She was born in Lawrence and was the daughter of the late Rose A. (Betit) and Alfred Robidoux, originally of Quebec, Canada. She was predeceased by her husband of 28 years, Armand Joseph Audy, who passed away on June 28, 1976.

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    5 days
  • Charles Anthony "Chuck" Carnival, 79

    Jackson, MS — Charles Anthony “Chuck” Carnival, 79, formerly of Raymond, N.H., passed away Thursday, June 19, 2014, at Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

    Continued ...
    12 days 1 Photo
  • Francis M. Lurvey, 76

    Bar Harbor, ME — Francis M. Lurvey passed away Sunday, June 22, in Bar Harbor, Maine, after battling cancer. By his side were his sons, Edwin Lurvey and Steven Lurvey and his niece and husband, Debra and Richard Carey, as well as cousin, Marion McDonald. He was the son of Edwin R Lurvey (Bar Harbor) and Delia Amazeen (Dexter). He is survived by five children, a stepson, and their families. His sons, Edwin and wife April, Steven and wife, Pam, David and his daughter, Meghan, as well as his daughters, Lorraine and Ellen and her husband, Paul DiScipio with daughters, Katherine and Julia, and his stepson, Brian Faulkner and wife, Jody with children, Trevor, Rachel, and Keith. He is also survived by his sister, Sheryl, and many nieces and nephews including Frank Lurvey and Elaine Langer. Francis was predeceased by his twin brother, Frank, as well as his brothers, Edwin and Erwin. He was also predeceased by his longtime companion, Brian and Edwin’s mother, Maureen Faulkner and former wife, Roberta Lurvey Gilmore.

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    19 days 1 Photo
  • Norman R. Cote

    Atkinson, NH — Norman R. Cote, of Atkinson, was called to his heavenly home on June 16, 2014, following a period of declining health.

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    19 days
  • Frederick M. Hopper, 64

    Epping, NH — Frederick Michael Hopper, of Epping, N.H., passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Predeceased by his wife, Alice Hopper, he is survived by his longtime girlfriend, Joann Peatfield; daughters, Shay Belair and Jayne Pond; sons-in-law, Adam Belair and James Pond; mother, Arlene Hopper; father and stepmother, Frederick S. and Barbara Hopper; siblings, Susan Hardy, Stephan Hopper, Scott Hopper, and Sherri Chagnon; grandsons, Benjamin Belair, Jonathan Belair and Jackson Pond; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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    26 days 1 Photo

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