I'm not kidding when I say that I got chills (the good kind, not the ones I had the other 5 hours because I was standing in one place in the freezing cold) and a little teary-eyed listening to this piece of music, and immediately made plans to purchase a recording of the piece the minute I could get to my iTunes account.
So imagine my surprise when today I read an article where pianist Gabriela Montero was defending the quartet against accusations that they were Milli Vanilli like frauds because on inauguration day they played along with a recording of them that was made the night before.
ARE YOU FAWKING KIDDING ME?!
First of all, it was 10 degrees and windy; and from what I've heard and know about instruments they don't really work that well in extreme temperatures. Did you see the little finger-less gloves Montero was wearing on her frozen ice-blue hands? And poor Itzhak and McGill looked like they could barely move their arms and hands they were so bundled up. Only Yo-yo Ma seemed even somewhat comfortable, but even he had a red wind-chapped face (which was the only thing on his body not swathed in wool). So yes, it's an issue if your piano keys are sticking and your cello strings are threatening to snap, that you might want to have a back-up, a plan B.
Most importantly, these four weren't playing to some crowd of a thousand people - there were TWO MILLION of us out there! All the microphones in the world aren't going to be able to amp enough sound out from these live instruments in order for people to hear. So yes, of course they played along with a recording. DUH!
And the quartet conveyed such beautiful emotion while playing that it's a shame that there are a bunch of blow-hards with their smelling salt all up in arms over the recording. For shame! Untwist your panties and lighten the hell up!