Ed's talk: Fools rush in (where angels fear to tread)!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fools rush in (where angels fear to tread)!

I'm afraid that this is really my indictment of, in this case, the classical pianist industry.  After a discussion concerning, who I would consider "the Britney Spears" of classical pianists,  Yuja Wang, I turned on radio station WQXR to hear her live recital at Carnegie Hall. When I realized I could also see it on Medici TV, I unwisely left the self-serving comments that two men gave on the recital in time to see her play the "Hammerklavier" Sonata which is usually considered to be the "Mt. Everest" of the classical piano repertory and was "treated" to see Ms. Wang in her "stripper's outfit" handily dispatching this work at a speed and efficiency which others could only dream of!

At the age of 29, it hardly seems seemly to play this work in public and, at that age, could hardly be able to probe its depths. And she didn't!

Yes, she waited a long time before coming out to play a mess of encores when, after that, she shouldn't have played any.

I think it all boiled down to a lack of respect! But maybe she thinks her undoubted talent is not enough to get ahead in an overcrowded field of classical pianists. And maybe she's right!



At May 16, 2016 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Joe said...

Ed, I don't think we have a plethora of "classical" pianists so much as we — the citizens of America — have collectively made for a dearth of opportunities that would provide the necessary support needed by the many fine musicians who have attained a high degree of virtuosity. I would rather point the finger at society at large, and particularly the failure of those in a position to shape economic policy and public education to remedy the widespread philistinism that has habitually kept the humanities and performing arts in such a critically anemic state. This young woman may be too musically immature to perform the *Hammerklavier* insightfully, but her aggressive careerism and meretricious manner of dress are clearly a concession to a "system" that rewards rank populism and has only served to sustain a status quo in which high art simply cannot flourish: the fads and vicissitudes of the marketplace swamp any and every other consideration — including good taste and the nurturing of serious aesthetic reflection.

The problem is beyond her: her example is more a symptom of a deeply broken, culturally decrepit nation (and world), just as Trump's ascent to political prominence is indicative of a chronic descent into turpitude and mammonism.

At May 16, 2016 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Ed said...

Hi Joe,

I always think back to early public school and its much maligned "Music Appreciation" programs which did, in fact, expose me, however superficially, to the world of classical music beyond the piano. Most, if not all my class teachers could play the piano to some extent even if one pronounced a certain name as Richard "Wog-ner".

Now, we mostly don't have even that.

So, failing that, we have performers such as Ms. Wang, who I think would have gladly bypassed the sensationalism. So, I think you are right about present world society.


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