New York, January 23 (ANI): The performance of the 'Air and Simple Gifts' instrumental piece at Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday was not live, it has emerged.
Even though Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero, Yo-Yo Ma, and Anthony McGrill were seen performing John William's special composition for the occasion, they were actually playing along a recording made just two days earlier.
The players and the inauguration organizing committee have confirmed that it was not a live performance, saying that the arrangement was necessary because of the extreme cold and wind during the ceremony.
They said that the conditions raised the possibility of broken piano strings, cracked instruments, and wacky intonation minutes before the President's swearing in.
"Truly, weather just made it impossible," the New York Times quoted Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, as saying.
"No one's trying to fool anybody. This isn't a matter of Milli Vanilli," she added, referring to the pop band that was stripped of a 1989 Grammy because of its lip-synching, making it synonymous with the practice.
Even though the use of a recording was not disclosed beforehand, Florman insisted that the NBC producers handling the television pool were told about its likelihood the day before.
Inaugural musical performances are routinely recorded ahead of time for just such an eventuality, she said.
According to her, the Marine Band and choruses, which performed throughout the ceremony, did not use a recording.
"It's not something we would announce, but it's not something we would try to hide. Frankly, it would never have occurred to me to announce it. The fact they were forced to perform to tape because of the weather did not seem relevant, nor would we want to draw attention away from what we believed the news is, that we were having a peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next," Florman said.
Perlman said in a telephone interview that the recording was used as a last resort, adding: "It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way. This occasion's got to be perfect. You can't have any slip-ups." (ANI)