Written especially for the Inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama, January 20th, 2009. For the first time, chamber musicians took center stage at an inauguration, performing in the prime spot between the swearing-in of Vice President Biden and President Obama. Classical luminaries Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin) joined Metropolitan Opera clarinetist Anthony McGill and Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero to perform Air and Simple Gifts, a new piece by esteemed composer John Williams.
Air - by John Williams
Simple Gifts - based on the traditional Shaker hymn, "The Gift to Be Simple", arranged by John Williams.
Says John Williams:
Air & Simple Gifts
This edition is specially arranged for String Orchestra.
was written for the occasion of the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.
The piece combines a reflective and prayerful theme followed by an exuberant rendering of the traditional Shaker hymn "The Gift to be Simple," made famous by Aaron Copland in his ballet score Appalachian Spring.
At the inauguration, it was our privilege to have the piece performed in its original quartet form by four of our most distinguished instrumentalists: Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill.
Immediately after the inauguration, Mr. Perlman asked if I would arrange the piece for string orchestra so that his students at the Perlman Music Program could perform it. I had conducted his group in the past, and was greatly impressed by their dedication and budding artistry, and so I happily agreed to make this adaptation.
Mr. Perlman conducted the premiere of the work during his summer 2009 program.
8 - Violin 1
8 - Violin 2
4 - Viol
4 - Violoncello
4 - Contrabass
Duration - ca. 4:45
9"x12" study score