Friday, January 23, 2009

A Counterfeit Performance

Remember hearing the string quartet that played at the inauguration? Well, what you actually heard was a recording the performers had produced two days earlier. It wasn't live.

Apparently, it was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune and I can certainly understand that. As a pianist, I felt sorry for the woman who was accompanying them on the piano as it’s pretty impossible to play decently with cold hands.

Still, I find myself a bit troubled when classical musicians the caliber of Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Pearlman pretend that they’re performing for us. It’s the deception that bothers me.

Sure, we've come to expect lip-synching at pop concerts, especially when the performers have borderline musical abilities to begin with. Performers such as N-Sync, and especially Britney Spears and Madonna rely heavily on the vast wizardry of studio technicians to produce their recordings and make them sound decent.

But when folks go to a Madonna or Britney Spears concert, they're there to enjoy the choreography, light shows, to scream and get toasted; the music is almost secondary. Britney and Madonna certainly can’t pull off a singing performance while leaping about for 90 minutes, nor should they be expected to.

But when we go to hear a Classical artist, we’re there to behold the incredible skill for which that artist is known and to hear it in a live setting while having a white wine spritzer during the intermission.

True, Madonna can barely sing but, conversely, Yo-Yo isn't known for his dancing abilities either.

Didn’t the organizers suspect that it was going to be freezing? Hello! It’s January.

And didn’t Yo-Yo know that you shouldn’t expose a string instrument to freezing temperatures, much less attempt a performance on one?

It was really bad planning to think they could pull that off. For the sake of musical integrity, I hope they never do it again.

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At 9:08 PM , Blogger QuotidianEditorialist said...

Completely agreed, Buck. I was very saddened when I heard of this.

At 9:08 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Actually, I heard that they were actually playing, but only the people really close to them could hear them--and they probably weren't in tune, anyway.

And by the way, did you just dis Madonna? Isn't that an insult to your people? *hee hee*


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