I owe this feeble pun (along with some even feebler ones below) to the viewers’ comments on Khatia Buniatishvili’s YouTube performance of the Schumann Concerto.
There are dozens of comments along those lines, and only one or two mention her playing at all.
This is unfortunate because, though Khatia has always had an impressive pair of breasts, since puberty at any rate, she also used to have a pianistic talent. Not of the top-drawer variety perhaps, but a real one nonetheless.
At the beginning of her career she could play well, promising much more to come. Much more did come, but it had nothing to do with music.
At some point either Khatia herself or, more likely, her handlers realised that talent alone does not careers make. Not these days. Moreover, talent is strictly optional, some will even say superfluous.
What matters is presentation exuding star quality. And star quality for a pianist who happens to be a good-looking, richly endowed girl doesn’t have to differ from what’s expected from Playboy centrefolds or soft porn actresses.
When that realisation sank in, Khatia began to expose more and more of her breasts, and what she exposed was more than most women had in their entirety. Alas, as her décolleté dropped, so did the quality of her playing.
The earlier promise remained unfulfilled – it was only a promise of artistic excellence not of a glittering career. Her breasts, however, could be parlayed into stardom. And so they were.
These days Khatia’s playing is facile to the point of being mediocre. But her impressively cantilevered dresses are true masterpieces of structural engineering.
The cameramen shooting videos of her performances often aim their lenses face on, through the piano. Since the top edge of the piano overlaps with the top edge of Khatia’s dress, she looks topless.
This is a comment on today’s music scene, not just on one particular practitioner. At least Khatia used to have talent, which is more than can be said for another musical nudist, Yuja Wang.
Less richly endowed upstairs, she bares the lower part of her body as well – while playing to the standard of a conservatory prep-school pupil who never ends up admitted to the advanced course.
This is also a comment on our time that makes exponents of the most vital Western art prostitute themselves like pole dancers. None of these girls would have been fit to turn the pages for the great women pianists of the past.
Myra Hess, Marguerite Long, Clara Haskil, Marcelle Meyer, Maria Yudina, Gina Bachauer, Annie Fischer – every one of these artists had more talent in her little finger than today’s lot have in their whole semi-naked bodies.
I don’t know how their listeners commented on their performances, but I’m willing to bet the focus was on the interpretation, individuality, mastery, tonal quality, structure. I do know how listeners, or in this case viewers, comment on Khatia’s Schumann Concerto.
Here are their comments, and I hope, as you smile against yourself, you’ll also shed a tear for the great art of musical performance, debauched, debased and prostituted:
“Never seen a piano concerto played in DD minor.”
“Wow outstanding. Truly a work of art. Too bad my speakers don’t work.”
“I’m stroking my D major key watching this.”
“Even more astounding because she is unable to see her hands!”
“Some of the most udderly clever piano playing ever, absolutely titillating!”
“Legend has it, there’s a piano in this clip.”
“I have two big reasons for watching this video.”
“Is this Schumann Piano Concerto in D-cup Minor?”
“DD Major if I’m not mistaken, with an incredible climax in the final movement. Amazing recital, she has an incredible mammary.”
“Being musically talented myself I’ll have to get the old skin flute out and play along.”
“She’s got mountains of talent… would love to see her peaks and valleys.”
“I watch this till the end then realised I have sound turned off. No, I’m not deaf.”
“The way she bounces between notes is simply beautiful.”
“…didn’t recognize the music…was that Beatoffen? Gotta say – even the deaf would enjoy her performance… well rounded delivery.”
“As the Germans would say, that performance was WONDERBRA!!!”
“I clicked on the text that said, “show more”… but her top, sadly, didn’t get any lower…”
“At one point the conductor didn’t know which stick to sway.”
“This performance was not flat at all. Her phrasing was round and had a real bounce to it. She showed how classical music can stimulate the imagination. The end was truly climactic (at least for me)!”
“This is amazing. The music isn’t bad too.”
“I wouldn’t touch that piano. It looks booby-trapped.”
“Wait, there was a piano?!”
“This is proof men can concentrate on two things at once.”
“That moment when I knew where I want to end my solo.”
“Schumann is stroking his D Major Scales in his grave.”
“I’m udderly impressed.”
“Simply the breast!”
“To be quite honest, I was kind of scared that her dress might fall off.”
“What a performance, simply breast-taking.”
“What a use of the Double D Areolian mode. Definitely a jugg-ernaut. An absolute orgasmic performance … at least by me.”
You may or may not be weeping; I know I am. But Khatia is laughing – all the way to the bank.