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Classical Notes

Classical Music at the Inauguration

Posted at 8:34 AM on January 21, 2009 by Rex Levang (2 Comments)

Judging by the number of online comments, there's a lot of curiosity about the instrumental piece played at yesterday's inaugural ceremonies.

It's called "Air and Simple Gifts," by John Williams, and it was performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Gabriela Montero and Itzhak Perlman.

Yesterday's performance was the world premiere, so there aren't lots of recordings out there. But you can hear the piece again today on Performance Today--minus the voice-over that you heard on some broadcasts.


Comments (2)

Wasn't the inaugural piece based on a work composed by Aaron Copland?

Posted by Richard | January 22, 2009 7:52 AM


I saw the performance of "Air and Simple Gifts" by John Williams on the broadcast of our very "Historic" Inauguration ceremonies. It was FABULOUS !!! I have seen a few of Yo-Yo Ma's television performances and I don't think I have ever see a bigger smile on his face EVER. He just looked so proud and happy to be there. As did Itzhak, Anthony and Gabriela. It was truly awesome. And so what if it was a recording. I'LL BUY IT !!! In those temperatures those precious instruments will never stay in tune and as the performers said, "This occasion's got to be perfect. You can't have any slip-ups." And the performance was PERFECT !

Posted by Kimberly | January 23, 2009 10:46 AM