|Sweet Sarah Chang |
loving her violin
I certainly wouldn't disagree. The brilliance with which some of these young musicians tackle the most daunting repertoire is simply astonishing, and there are very few orchestras in the world which don't boast an Asian player or two. Certainly in Chinese communities, Western Classical Music is seen as a potentially lucrative career, and some parents, at the first sign of musical inclination (often earlier), force their children to devote their studies wholly towards a career as a concert pianist or violinist, much as others might encourage their children to seek careers in law, medicine, finance or people smuggling.
Unquestionably the musical world has benefitted hugely from the injection of Asian talent on to the world's stage. Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Kyung-Wha Chung, Mitsuko Uchida, Sumi Jo and many others have risen to the peak of their profession and are very much living legends. But will the same hold true when today's young generation of Asian artists reach not so much old age as full maturity?
|For my Malaysian Readers - this is, apparently, what|
Lang Lang looks like when he's playing the piano
|Nowdays Sarah Change seems|
almost embarrassed to be seen
with a violin
|Where's my violin? Did I tuck it under my vest?|
My concerns are fired by the arrival on my desk of the début concerto recording of yet another of these brilliant Chinese pianist prodigies, Yuja Wang. True, at 25 she's hardly a genuine wunderkind, but there's still a long way to go to develop her real musical persona. The disc, Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and the Paganini Rhapsody is pretty impressive, and she's lucky to be paired with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. For me it's not the last word in Rachmaninov performances, but its place in the shortlist of this year's Gramophone Awards is thoroughly deserved.
|Look - I'm Russian!!!|
And to add insult to injury, to achieve the ultimate in ghastly farce and, possibly, to hammer the first nail into the coffin of Yuja Wang's respectability as a serious classical musician, she's been taken down to a beach to be photographed playing the piano. It might be a beach beside the Black Sea, although it looks for all the world as if it's on the outskirts of the Shenzhen industrial zone, but wherever it is, while she battles to pretend she's playing some hideous grand piano of mainland Chinese manufacture, the wind blows her music away and with it, possibly, her artistic future. If there's money to be made looking silly with a piano, why bother to play it seriously?