New video: Who’s commencing at Harvard? Aretha….

New video: Who’s commencing at Harvard? Aretha….


norman lebrecht

June 02, 2014

Possibly the most thoughtful, ego-free rendition ever given to the national anthem.

Aretha Franklin, who received an honorary degree at Harvard University’s 2014 Commencement, opened the Morning Exercises in Tercentenary Theatre with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

aretha franklin


  • Brian says:

    Thoughtful? I suppose that a great deal of thought went into Ms. Franklin’s “performance,” but that’s the crux of the matter. This writer is truly tired of yet another interpretation of the Star-Spangled Banner (let it be said that I can’t stand the tune nor the text, having often compared it to a militaristic drinking song.

    This link will take one to the most moving arrangement of the anthem, presenting it more as a hymn: It is now the “official” version of one of my ensembles and I plan on sharing it with two more this summer.