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Boston Marathon Explosion: Obama Speaks, Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach

By Logan K. Young l.young@classicalite.com on Apr 19, 2013 11:12 AM EDT

Yesterday, President Obama led a memorial service for the city of Boston at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. By all acounts, "Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service" was quite an emotional tribute wherein the President of the United States vowed that Boston would indeed finish the race.

"God has not give us the spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline," Obama told the congregation. "Our fidelity to our way of life, to a free and open society, will only grow stronger."

Perhaps even more inspiring than President Obama's words, however, was Yo-Yo Ma's music.

The cellist, who lives just across the Charles River Bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, performed a haunting rendition of the "Sarabande" from J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor.

Here's the footage of Yo-Yo Ma's Bach from Boston's New England Cable News:

Regarding Bach's "Sarabande," Ma told All Things Considered that he thinks of the piece as "a struggle for hope."

"The falling motion of most of the notes is contradicted by periodic rising notes," Ma wrote to NPR in an email. "In the last bar of the piece, all but one of the notes rise, and I think that represents the strength of the human spirit and, today, the spirit of Boston."

If you'll recall, Yo-Yo Ma has played the "Sarabande" from Bach's Cello Suite No. 5 for the victims of 9/11, as well.

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TagsBoston Marathon Explosion, In Memoriam, Barack Obama, Yo-Yo Ma, Bach, Cello Suite No. 5, Sarabande