Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, Dec 7, 2013.
There are at least a dozen pianists I would listen to before I listen to Bang Bang ...
While hardly having followed his career closely, I haven't noticed him engaging in this kind of splashy crossover project before. Isn't this something of a new departure for him? I know he tries to "spread the gospel" of classical music to new audiences, and maybe that's what he's at here, or maybe it's just the lure of some big $$$, or maybe something of both, but given his already somewhat shaky standing in "serious" circles (e.g.,
--and understand, I myself on limited exposure think he is better than he sometimes gets credit for being, if rather more flamboyant than is good for him)
it strikes me as rather ill-advised, at least if he wants to be considered more than "the world's most popular celebrity pianist."
Now playing the following SACD from my Chopin collection on my universal player for the first time ...
IMO that isn't really the issue although in a way it is. I think pairing up a classical artist with a heavy metal band is gimmicky. I think it shows an uninformed belief on the part of the Grammys that a proper classical act on it' own wouldn't be of interest and it is a missed opportunity to promote real classical music. But I think it takes a Lang Lang to do something as ridiculous as this for the sake of self promotion
No. He did it before on the Grammys no less but at least last time it was with Herbie Hancock
I think one of his greatest faults is his willingness to sell his dignity out and the dignity of classical music for the sake of self promotion. We are talking about the only classical music with his own Nike shoe line. He is well on his way to being the Liberace of the 21st century
Can a classical star give a heavy metal band a legitimacy it lacks, and can that band give the classical musician a broader popular base he lacks? Maybe, but it seems to me Lang Lang has much more to lose in a promotion such as this.
But the Grammys--Grammies--whatever--have always been about pop music. Classical may have been a somewhat bigger sideshow once upon a time, but nonetheless it was never more than a sideshow. I can remember years and years and years of reading coverage that ignored classical music entirely or else buried it far, far down near the tip of the journalistic "inverted pyramid" and never gave it more than passing mention even so. And, after all, the whole exercise is pretty much a meaningless beauty contest anyhow--or a rigged ballot box, as the Atlanta SO supposedly contrived to exploit for some years.
Thanks for bringing me up to date. As you'll have guessed from the foregoing, I pay very little attention to Grammyworld, and I'd missed that.
Funny thing--I almost mentioned Liberace in my own earlier post. The parallels are interesting. I actually have a 78 somewhere of Liberace playing a truncated "Moonlight Sonata" (I forget if it's been otherwise diddled, but my recollection is that it's fairly close to as writ aside from abbreviation). The guy was classically trained, and on the strength of that record he could have gone on to be a perfectly respectable, if perhaps second-tier, impoverished classical artist had he not found another direction leading to mere fame and $$$. (Lest we think he's an isolated case, I can think of at least two other, admittedly less extreme, cases: John McCormack, who was capable of top-notch operatic and art song work but instead lavished undeniably bountiful talents on vast quantities of treacly dreck and made a fortune doing it, and Ferrante and Teicher, who started off--and recorded!--as quite capable classical duo-pianists before abandoning that unremunerative niche path to obscurity for the highway of profitable showmanship.)
I agree--you've much better expressed the point I was trying to make in my earlier posting. I doubt Metallica's fans will turn on the band for this stunt, and they may even get a big laugh out of it, but it seems to me that association with a heavy metal band is likely to be a powerful negative in the more uptight--and, let's be honest, elderly--world of the classical connoisseurs, one that has hardly welcomed Lang Lang with open arms to begin with.
Mind you, maybe he doesn't care. If he sees himself as trying to reach out to young listeners and others who traditionally have not been interested in classical music, perhaps he considers association with that stuffy "old guard" of no concern or even counterproductive. There's been a good bit of debate lately about whether the formalities and rituals of the classical concertgoing experience are in part to blame for classical music's absence from the youthful audience's radar screen, and for all I know those are what L.L. is trying to dispel. As I say, I don't follow him outside of catching the occasional reference in the press or here on the forums. All I can say from personal experience is that I've heard some of his recordings on the radio, coming in unaware of who was performing, and more often than not I've found them, stripped of the extraneous theatricality of his stage presence, to be quite pleasing, even recommendable--not a bad achievement in the ferociously competitive world of standard rep recording.
It was Liberace who played classical "minus the boring parts."
I thought that was the Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival?
I would add Oscar Levant.
One has to bear in mind that classical artists apart from the money are not accorded the same kind of social or media respect that they enjoyed even as late as the 70s and 80s. The idea that a conductor would have a MSM TV program a la Lenny Bernstein would be earth shaking today. I think younger classical players also are fearful (whether rightly or not) that they won't be able to make a lifetime living at this. Not a Lang Lang fan but I do understand his approach.
Now Listening To
Ravel. The Ravel Concert. Paul Paray, DSO. Mercury Canada.
An early 80s 2 LP compilation of Paray's excellent performances from the 50s and 60s in Much improved sound. Rather hard to find at least outside of Canada.
I have some of that on CD from the original MLP releases. Along time favorite.
Probably in one of the boxes as well.
It's been a morning of S's for me - can't seem to scroll any further on my Squeezebox.
Schubert's 6th Symphony - Abbado
Schoenberg Piano Music - Pollini
Shostakovich String Quartets 4 and 5 Borodin SQ
I'm not much of an expert on heavy metal but I am under the impression that Metalica is not wanting for legitimacy. My understanding is that they are one of the most accomplished heavy metal bands of all time. IMO any number of virtuoso soloists could easily give classical music a broader popular base by simply playing some of the more immediately impressive pieces. Classical music without gimmicks can rock the house as much as any other genre. The common perception is that classical music is snobbish stuffed shirt music created by rich old people for rich old people so they can feel sophisticated. That image could easily be turned on it's head in a 2 minute performance without having to resort to gimmicks.
Next up: Sibelius Symphony No. 6
I wish that were true. There have been a fair number of pop music musicians doing cross over projects with classical musicians over the years, even leaving aside Pops concerts. There was Procol Harum playing with the Edmonton Symphony; the Moody Blues had a semi classical album in Days of Future Passed; Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin played with the El Paso Symphony, Elton John played with the Melbourne Symphony; Paul McCartney, Randy Newman and Billy Joel have had classical music related albums. I could go on but would bore everyone more than I usually do.
There are several problems more serious: 1. there is not enough sustained exposure in grade school; there is little to no support from the political/media class (Richard Nixon was the last President to go to a scheduled classical concert I believe); there is a dearth of new compositions that are compelling even to the typical classical music crowd, let alone a wider public.
Ah, but only if you can get that reluctant horse first to come to the water and then to drink it. Oh, and then to be willing to buck image pressure among peers who still think of classical music as snobbish stuffed shirt music created by rich old people for rich old people so they can feel sophisticated. Not necessarily easy tasks, any of them. (Please note: I am not in any way pretending that a L.L./Metallica hookup is anything other than silly at best.)
Sure, Metalica is a legitimate heavy metal crew, but how that translates to the broadest musical sensibilities is unclear to me. But I agree 100% with the gist of your post, Scott.
Ashy's good enough for me.
Absolutely. And I am not suggesting that all classical music needs is one performance on the Grammys to cure all it's woes. I just see this as a missed opportunity wasted on someone who will do just about anything for the sake of self promotion.
Classical music has always been a sideshow in the US IMO. But as the American pop culture invades Europe, most folks of the younger European population are also turning away from classical music and as such even the future of classical music in Europe may be in jeopardy. I wholeheartedly support France in fighting to put a restriction on American entertainment products in the EU because the Europeans are entitled to maintain their cultural identity ...
More than good enough for me!
Sibelius in the wintertime is perfect!
Yes there are A>DSD, but does this Grimm recording device eliminate both analog and PCM and is DSD direct as Sony/Philips originally intended? If that is what this does, then I apologize for misunderstanding what I have read in the recent past.
This does not, however, change the fact that the large majority of recent classical SACD recordings sound dreadful, and that Sony abandoned SACD because the marketing didn't jibe with the reality. That reality is, of course, that the public at large did not appreciate the new technology. Pardon me for expressing my opinion.
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