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Friday, January 23, 2009

Fake But Accurate

From the New York Times.
The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the on Tuesday came from the instruments of [Yo-Yo Ma and] Itzhak Perlman...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 Tuesday’s ceremony.

“Truly, weather just made it impossible,” Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said on Thursday. “No one’s trying to fool anybody. This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli, Ms. Florman added...”
You're right, Ms. Foreman, it's worse. Milli Vanilli was (were?) a slick marketing creation in an industry rife with them; a couple of zero-talent pretty boys who couldn't sing, lip-synching anodyne pop tunes sung by those who could. Other than legions of teen-aged girls, no one gave a rat's ass when their cover was blown and they quickly faded into obscurity although, tragically, one of the duo did regain fame briefly after he OD'd.

Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman are big names in the music world, they enjoy major reputations and we expect better of them. It was announced with fanfare those two stellar artists would perform at the inauguration (and oh, how the PBS crowd purred its approval) so for them and their colleagues to have faked the performance was gross deception, nothing less. If it was too bloody cold for them to risk the well-being of their precious axes, or they were worried about the event turning into a clambake, the two artists should have withdrawn with an explanation. Reasonable people would have understood. It bears mentioning, however, the Marine Band, which consists mostly of brass and woodwinds--much harder to play in the cold then fiddles--managed to pull off their gig off without a hitch.

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