Yet this doesn’t really matter either to them or to the public or, most important, to those who form the public tastes by writing about music and musicians.
Thus, for example, a tabloid pundit expressing his heartfelt regret that Nicola Benedetti “won’t be posing for the lads’ mags anytime soon. She’s a violinist, which is to say fiddler – well, you do get it.
I can’t, which raises the inevitable question: what exactly has changed in the last say 70 years? Concert organisers and impresarios, who used to be in the business because they loved music first and wanted to make a living second, now care about nothing but money. The circle is vicious: because tasteless ignoramuses use every available medium to build up musical nonentities, nonentities is all we get.
Critics, who used to have discernment and taste, now have nothing but greed and lust for popularity. And because the musical nonentities have no artistic qualities to write about, the writing nonentities have to concentrate on the more jutting attractions, using a vocabulary typically found in “lads’ mags”.
The adage “sex sells” used to be applied first to B-movies, then to B-novels, and now to real music.
The Georgian pianist, who has the closing concert at this year’s Verbier Festival, reveals that she spent two formative teenaged summers playing keyboard in its ad hoc orchestra. Khatia’s playing, though competent, is as undeniably so-what as her voluptuous figure undeniably isn’t.(Yes, I know the photograph I mentioned doesn’t show much of her figure apart from the luscious shoulders but, the prurient side of my nature piqued, I did a bit of a web crawl.) Just for the hell of it I looked at the publicity shots of other currently active female musicians, such as Yuja Wang, Joanna Mac Gregor, Nicola Bendetti, Alison Balsom (nicknamed ‘crumpet with a trumpet’, her promos more often suggest ‘a strumpet with a trumpet’ instead), Anne-Sophie Mutter and a few others.ALERT: This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” will feature the Kat Trio (the violin, clarinet and piano trio, below, is in residence this year at Wisconsin Public Radio) in larger works by Milhaud and Menotti as well as smaller works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Ginastera and others. Along comes the 26-year-old, Uzbekistan-born pianist Lola Astanova, clad in skimpy black and lots of skin, to up the ante on the sexy dress quotient in classical music. (Both women say they admire Lady Gaga.) Maybe you thought things has calmed down about Yuja Wang and her ruffling some concertgoer’s feathers with her red micro-skirts and her black, thigh-high slit black gown when she performs (below top, at Hollywood Bowl and below bottom, in a photo by Ruby Washington of The New York Times, at her Carnegie Hall debut this fall): Well, think again.“But Nicola doesn’t always take the bonniest photo,” continues the writer, “she’s beaky in pics sometimes, which is weird because in the flesh she’s an absolute knock-out.“The classical musician is wearing skinny jeans which show off her long legs.It all concerns her performing Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin (I don’t know the specific pieces, but she is billing it as an homage to her favorite pianist Vladimir Horowitz, so I expect it will be some of the same famous pieces by those composers that Horowitz often performed.) You would also have to go pretty far and to extreme excess to top her own website for self-promotion.Here is a link, so you can check out the fashion shows she combines with concerts and her other promotional entries.Can you, in the wildest flight of fancy, imagine a reviewer talking in such terms about sublime women artists of the past, such as Myra Hess, Maria Yudina, Maria Grinberg, Clara Haskil, Marcelle Meyer, Marguerite Long, Kathleen Ferrier?Can you see any of them allowing themselves to be photographed in the style of“lads’ mags”?