My young pianist of the year
No sooner had yesterday's lament been published than classical music's social media channels resounded to the sound of yet more self-serving virtual noise. It has become the fashion for young female - the latter adjective is a statement of fact not gender bias - pianists of unproven talent from former Soviet republics to attract media attention by Katie Hopkins-style social media excesses. These excesses are adored by the Sinfini Music school of churnalists, whose own virtual noise feeds on the virtual noise created by others. So, as in the current example, a virtuous circle of self-promoting social media noise is created to the benefit of all concerned, but, I would suggest, to the detriment of the long term future of classical music.
The only way to deal with these self-serving virtual noise makers is to deny them the oxygen of publicity. So no links to them, and, instead, a heads up for my own young pianist of the year. My enthusiasm for René Urtreger's post-bop pianism dates back to when I saw him playing with Pierre Michelot and Daniel Humair at the 2001 Bergerac Festival; while his album Onirica from the same year has had almost as many plays on my iPod as the 22-year-old Glenn Gould's take on the Goldbergs. Now the youthful 81 year-old French pianist (seen above) has released a new trio album; watch a video of the ear-worm par excellence La Fornarina via this link. If any more evidence is needed that René Urtreger is the real thing, it is that - as I write - his personal website is down, and he doesn't have a Twitter account.
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'To hear Bach, for instance, with 'feminine charms' smeared all over him by some of our young lady pianists is an indescribably nauseating experience. Moreover, women performers are quite shameless and unscrupulous in the way in which they so constantly trail the sexual red- herring across the path of the public's better judgement.' He continues:' The one or two really great women instrumentalists naturally have no need or use for contemptible tricks of this kind...'.
It is, of course classic vitriolic Sorabji, but there are grains of truth in it that are echoed today, as you so ably illustrate above.