Friday, April 15, 2005

Pianist Make Overs

Anyone who has followed --even with the mostdisinterested regard-- the evolution of Yundi Li can't help but notice his transformation awkward Asian piano nerd to rock-star like piano virtuoso (or at least what absurdly passes for rock star status in some circles. It seems he has had a full blown makeover cince winning the Chopin competition (and for the record I don't think he deserved to win. Reportedly in an interview on competition Martha Agerich also expressed some surprise at this selection. I find his playing at best, well, "trained". But it lacks anything special and seems to lack insight into the music. It's, well, fine playing but seemingly devoid of attentiveness to inner essence and architecture of the music). Anyhow, what troubles me is what I see as a kind of slick packaging and over-hyping of competition winners (anyone who might draw an audience --particularly it seems to me with an eye towards with the large block of Asian classical music consumers). Certainly there is nothing new in this (as I've opined elsewhere). But it seems to be increasingly carried to newer and ever more absurd levels. I fully expect classicl CD album covers to start looking like certain romance novels.

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