Classical music for Obama inauguration was tape playback

I just read on Yahoo! News that the classical music performed for the Obama inauguration was from a recording.

Unless you were one of the fortunate few sitting within earshot of the celebrated performers, what you heard was a recording made two days earlier.


Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill made the decision a day before Tuesday's inauguration to use a previously recorded audio tape for the broadcast of the ceremonies.


The temperature hovered around 30 for the ceremony on the Capitol steps, too cold for McGill's clarinet, Ma's cello or Perlman's violin to offer true pitch. But the cold played havoc with the piano, which can't hold tune below 55 degrees for more than two hours, Florman said. The group played at 11:43 a.m., and guests seated near them could hear them as well as the tape made two days earlier. Guests seated farther away, the crowds that thronged the National Mall, and the millions who watched around the world heard the taped version of Williams' piece.

I had left the TV room shortly after the music started to deal with some computer stuff but with the TV volume cranked up so I could hear the music. I remember during the broadcast thinking how well in tune the clarinet was and marveling at how he was able to stay that way inspite of the cold weather knowing what a nightmare it would have been pitch-wise to play the flute that cold! 🙂 I even went back to watch a little just to see but apparently didn't stay long enough to catch the syncing (all the camera pans of the audience didn't help!). Anyhow, I was glad to see classical music featured so prominently and by such fine musicians as Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman as ambassadors of American music (even if it wasn't live!).

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