Music: Not Even Stravinsky

Russian Igor Stravinsky reharmonized the English tune which Congress in 1931 made the U.S. national anthem. Stravinsky's Russianized version of The Star-Spangled Banner is muscular and musicianly, but audiences don't like it too well. Last week Washington, D.C.'s National Symphony played first its standard arrangement, then Stravinsky's caviar-spangled version, asked the audience to vote its preference. Result: 203 for, 351 against Stravinsky.

What the anthem still needed most was not new harmonies but a singable melody. (A streamlined, octave-cheating version by Bandleader Vincent Lopez had failed to catch on.) Best way to sing The Star-Spangled Banner is still the conventional way: by...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!