A star is porn

‘She is the most photogenic of players: young, pretty, bare-footed; and, with her long dark hair and exquisite strapless dress of dazzling white, not only seemed to imply that sexuality itself can make you a profound musician, but was a perfect visual complement to the sleek monochrome of a concert grand… [but] there’s more to her than meets the eye.’ What, did she proceed to take that dress off? Don’t know about you, but I’m getting that funny feeling down there.

This isn’t the description of a budding lap dancer at The Juicy Lucy bar in a bad part of town. Rather, the cited passage comes from a review of a piano recital at Queen Elizabeth Hall. The article in one of our ‘quality’ papers is accompanied by a photo of the young lady in question reclining on her instrument in a pre-coital position with an unmistakable ‘come and get it’ expression on her face. The piano is bright-red, a colour usually found not in concert halls but in dens of iniquity.

The name of the aspiring pole dancer cum pianist was unknown to me, which is par for the course, as the definition of a star (or celebrity) these days is ‘someone I’ve never heard of’. To correct this gap in my cultural development I went to YouTube and found a dozen performances by her. Having listened to several, I can state with absolute confidence that a generation ago her kind of playing wouldn’t have got one into a decent conservatory, never mind onto a concert platform. The amazing thing is that most of the listeners’ comments are in agreement with this assessment. ‘Please… this is music, not Olympic games’ is a representative remark. Nor is it a strip joint, may one add.

Just for the hell of it, and a generally complimentary reviewer did once describe me as a ‘grumpy old man’, think of some female players of the past. Myra Hess. Maria Yudina. Clara Haskil. Marcelle Meyer. Marguerite Long. Can you, in the wildest flight of fancy, imagine a reviewer talking in such terms about those sublime musicians? Why, the chap, along with the paper’s editor, would have been taken away by the men in white coats as fast as an ambulance could go.

The circle is vicious: because tasteless ignoramuses use every available medium to build up musical nonentities, nonentities is all we get. And because the musical nonentities have no artistic qualities to write about, the writing nonentities have to concentrate on the more jutting attractions, using a vocabulary typically found in soft-porn publications. We are indeed a sorry lot.

 

 

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