Friday, January 23, 2009

Inaugural Music Performance Was Faked

It's been disclosed that the Inauguration moment I enjoyed the most didn't actually happen live, as viewers were led to believe.

Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill played a lovely, joyous John Williams arrangement of "Simple Gifts"...well, sort of.

Coming from a family of musicians, I was impressed with how in tune the instruments were, given the bitterly cold weather, but I chalked it up to the extreme professionalism and abilities of the musicians. Turns out they were doing the equivalent of lip-synching...maybe it should be called instrument-synching...playing along with a tape which the musicians could hear via earpieces.

The Marine Band and choruses, on the other hand, did not use recordings and were performing live.


Blogger Missy said...

The article I read said they were actually playing, but only people close to them could hear their live music. Everyone else heard the recording.

If they had announced this in the first place, it wouldn't be a news story. Will people ever learn?


11:13 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

Well, they certainly did a good job of making it look like they were playing live. I would have never known.

1:14 PM  
Blogger trish said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:54 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Hm my previous comment was written assuming you didn't write about instruments going out of tune... Although I was also a little disappointed, you can't blame 'em.. Not even the most excellent musicians can escape the affects of temperature on their instruments..

3:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Trish,

Thanks for your comment. I am very understanding of the problems with keeping instruments in tune; my issue isn't about the difficulties the musicians would have had playing in cold weather, it's that it was inappropriate that the performance was presented to the public without any disclaimer, which naturally led viewers to assume it was live, just as the rest of the day's events were live.

I'm not sure how the fault should be divided between the musicians, the Inauguration Committee (who apparently let the networks know use of a recording was possible), or the networks. They could easily have put a crawl on the screen informing the viewing public that the musicians were performing to a recording due to cold weather, and had radio announcers say something as the performance started. I was uncomfortable with the musicians saying, post-performance, something along the lines of "But of course we all had to play to a recording, it was impossible to do otherwise," as if we all should have known that at the time. If everyone involved had been forthright and up front, I don't think this would have been an issue.

Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts --

Best wishes,

3:09 PM  

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