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Power of youtube

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Author Topic: Power of youtube  (Read 581 times)
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« on: November 17, 2012, 10:42:59 am »

Interesting article in International Pianist magazine .
It is by Joe Laredo
Who is most viewed pianist on youtube? Itis Valentina Lisitsa with  a total of some  45 million views. Most people are not familiar with her name. Her debut recording came out in July. Critics wrote - The disc 'rpves Lisitsa's technical skill rather than the potential depth or reach of her musicality' (FIona Maddock wrote in the Observer).

Comments on her video clips attracted much extra-musical attention : Beautiful dress, I think I 'm in love with you, I want you to marry me are some of the more printable of the thousands of remarks posted.

Similarly we can talk about popularity of Gabriela Montero, Uja Wang, Alisa Sara Ott and Khatia Buniatishvili.

There is discussion about to what extent does or should, physical attractiveness determine artistic and commercial success in the piano world.

In the  age of visual enlightenment let us not shut our eyes entirely to musical experience - ending words of the comment.
I think this comment touches on my sensitive point too. While one doesn't want look at shabily dressed people there is limit of what one likes to see while listening to classical performance.
Men exploit their looks too. This comment didn't touch on that (maybe there were no lurid comments under their youtube clips).
It's not just Youtube but also the music magazines and other sources where one may encounter an increasing preponderance of glam pics of instrumentalists (though far less often of composers!) and it doesn't even necessarily follow that their looks are being promoted in an attempt to conceal their shortcomings as performers; Nicola Benedetti's been snapped so often in such a context that some might almost be forgiven for thinking that some of the images must somehow have escaped from Vogue or some other journal for fashionistas rather than appearing in publications read by those interested in music, yet she is a splendid violinist and a very fine musician indeed; there are other such examples, not least Montero and Wang whom you mention here, the former of whom is well known for her spontaneous public improvisations and the latter for a superhuman facility that leaves the likes of Ott, Buniatishvili and Lisitsa far behind if not quite on a par with Hamelin or UllÚn. Lisitsa has indeed made a big deal of acquiring for herself an unprecedentedly large Youtube presence but I don't find her playing particularly attention-grabbing; whoever expressed a desire for her to marry him would presumably be unaware that she is already married (and I don't think that she's all that remarkable to look at, either, but that's just a personal opinion)...

But yes, this kind of thing is indeed quite a distraction for some people when certain visual elements are permitted or even encouraged to assume precedence over the musical ones and, sadly, I don't doubt that this will continue to be exploited by some.
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