It's the music, stupid

A comment added to my post about Sheku Kanneh-Mason's new career as a fashion model prompted a comment from Mathias Broucek that demands to be quoted.
I’ve just remembered a video clip of a young woman telling an elderly Horowitz she liked his tie. He was horrified: “ What about my playing?????”
Not only does that anecdote apply to sartorial diversions, but it also applies to other prominent extra-curricular activities of celebrity classical musicians. Recently BBC News ran the feature '7 musicians who quit social media (and the reasons why)'. Not one of those seven musicians was from the classical world. A reflection of the mainstream media's lack of interest in things classical? Maybe; but can anyone name a single prominent classical musician who has publicly quit the contentious milieu of social networks? I doubt it. Which means either seven high profile non-classical artists have got it wrong, or classical music has its priorities wrong.

Not coincidentally my social media accounts are deleted. But new Overgrown Path posts are available via RSS/email by entering your email address in the right-hand sidebar. Any copyrighted material is included for critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).


Hank Drake said…
Mathias Broucek's comment about the Horowitz clip is far out of context. It's clear from viewing it that Horowitz and the woman in question were acquaintances and the conversation was only halfway serious. The conversation took place at a recording session in Milan for Mozart's Piano Concerto, K. 488.

Horowitz: (as woman approaches): I know her, from London!
Woman: Yes, I just got in this morning, six o'clock. I love your tie, it's a new one (as she starts to straighten it).
Horowitz: But not my playing?
Woman: Oh, I LOVED it! But then I always do!
Horowitz: More than the tie?
Woman: Uh, different!
Horowitz: (to other's nearby): She likes my tie more than my playing!

It's obvious to anyone who's seen the film that Horowitz was playing her as surely as he was playing the piano.

And Horowitz, of course, was always a natty dresser.
Pliable said…
Thanks for clarifying that Hank. However, in just some cases perhaps we should follow Slipped Disc's example and not let let the facts spoil a good story.
mathias broucek said…
Thanks for the reminder Hank :-). It's years since I saw the clip.

But even with your clarification the (image-conscious) Horowitz was still lightheartedly aware of what was really important. In his day, you could get away with being a natty dresser if you could deliver the artistic goods. These days there's more than a little risk of image trumping substance.

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