Live or Memorex? Canned Inaugural Music a Metaphor?

-By Warner Todd Huston

The dulcet tones of Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Izhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill floated out among the crowd to celebrate the ascension of The One on Tuesday. It was music to soothe the savage beast from some of the best known performers of American classical music. The assembled performers were there to entertain the masses to celebrate the coming. All eagerly strained to hear the delicate work of America’s musical masters.

Unfortunately it was a recording. The classical gas was a mere Milli Vanilli-a-rama.

It turns out that these famous musicians did not play what was heard by the crowd live that day. Instead a recording was played as the musicians fingered their instruments before the million or so D.C. visitors.

The reason? Supposedly because it was too cold to keep the instruments in tune.

Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, says the weather was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Izhak Perlman, pianist Gabriella Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill made the decision on Inauguration Day Tuesday to use an audio tape of their performance that they had laid down two days earlier.

Oh, there is no reason to get all up-in-arms that the aforementioned pluckers didn’t actually play live for the Obamathon in Washington. I am sure that the severe cold could easily play havoc with their instruments. But, it remains to be seen if this mild subterfuge will be a metaphor for the Obama administration; a facade thrown up while canned music plays to fool the public.

Let us hope that this little incident is not a harbinger of canned music to come from the Obama administration, but a mere footnote in history.

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as, Human Events Magazine,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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