What does Itzhak Perlman have in common with Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and Aretha Franklin?
ANSWER: They have all performed at Presidential Inaugurations.
Itzhak Perlman performed with Yo-Yo Ma at the President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. But what the millions on the Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along.
The players and the inauguration organizing committee said the arrangement was necessary because of the extreme cold and wind during ceremony. The conditions raised the possibility of broken piano strings, cracked instruments and wacky intonation minutes before the president’s swearing in (which had problems of its own).
Itzhak Perlman said the recording, which was made at the Marine Barracks in Washington, was used as a last resort.
“It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way,” he said Thursday in a telephone interview. “This occasion’s got to be perfect. You can’t have any slip-ups.”
Social media was abuzz from the classical music world with questions about whether Mr. Ma and Mr. Perlman would use their valuable cello and violin in the subfreezing weather. Both used modern instruments. Mr. Ma said he had considered using a hardy carbon-fiber cello, but rejected the idea to avoid distracting viewers with its unorthodox appearance.
“What we were there for,” he said, “was to really serve the moment.”