Perlman said that the recording, which was made on Sunday at the Marine Barracks in Washington, was used only as a last resort.(I guess Justice Roberts didn't get that message ; )
“It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way,” he said. “This occasion’s got to be perfect. You can’t have any slip-ups.”
It brought tears to my eyes. What an incredible and joyous sound, and so uniquely American. Made famous by Aaron Copeland, the Shaker hymn was a great choice for the occasion. I can't tell you how moved I was by the performance of this John Williams arrangement of "Air and Simple Gifts" by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill. Yo-Yo was absolutely beaming a big smile throughout the performance. This, by far, was the most moving part of the inauguration. This 'A-list' of performers also shows the diversity of America. Perlman - born an Israeli, Yo-Yo Ma - French born of Chinese parents, Gabriela Montero - a Latin American born in Venezuela, and Anthony McGill - an African American from Chicago. This was a celebration of all things that make America great.
If 2 million people could turn out to Washington to watch this with no major incidents, I hope this is a harbinger for the future of the cooperation, good will, and hope yet to come for a better America.
One criticism I must mention regarding the TV coverage, I have to say, I was terribly disappointed that CNN's Wolf Blitzer broke in and began to speak over this wonderful performance. I quickly switched to MSNBC and never went back. In my view, this was a very insensitive and disrespectful thing to do to both the listeners and these great artists.