A reason to stay seated
August 20, 2007
Dear Editor:As I paged through Friday’s paper, I came across a letter from Gretchen Weber in Snowmass. She questioned why more people did not stand during “The Star Spangled Banner” at Wednesday’s concert by the Aspen Concert Orchestra; was it because they “forgot what it means to be a citizen?” Absolutely not. I am a member of the orchestra’s cello section, and it was Maestro Slatkin’s intent for this piece to be an orchestral work, not an anthem. As he said, the audience is at a symphony concert, not a sports game. Most people in the audience understood this message and listened to the music instead of standing. Artistic representations of things require different procedures: Would a person kneel in front of a religious painting in an art museum? Or would they stand during the few bars of the national anthem included in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” performed by the Aspen Chamber Symphony last week? I find it very inappropriate to stand when the audience is clearly asked by the conductor not to do so. This is an arrangement by Stravinsky to thank America for giving him citizenship; however, it is not America’s original anthem by any means. With the addition of contrasting harmonies between different instruments and a few odd-sounding notes here and there, an ordinary anthem turns into a thoughtful piece of music, which stands as an artistic entity in its own right. Anjelica OienWest Bloomfield, Mich.