Thursday, July 3, 2014

"I Am Viagra to Classical, Aspirin to Pop"


  
Amadeus Leopold is the re-invention of the performer formerly known as Hahn Bin, a well-trained classical violinist. Taking his cues from contemporary popular culture, we can only admire his courage to embody FABULOUSNESS, to exist at the forbidden cruxes of the man/boy, the male/female, the sadist/masochist, the sacred and profane. He tells us of his “marriage and commitment to a new era of music - one where there is no boundary between what is classical and what is pop.”


Personifying Everyman’s desire to be an unbridled sensation, he embodies aspects of the human condition; from the ancient Greeks’ Dionysus and his maenads and the movie stars of yesteryear through the Romantic virtuosos and rock icons of today. With a downtown club kid aesthetic, backed by avant-garde fashionistas, Mr. Leopold is truly carving his place at the forefront. “We are very near the golden era of music, one that is reminiscent of the days when Liszt and Kreisler, Rachmaninoff and Mozart himself (sic) were the rock stars of their day. My role in the world is to embody the renaissance of classical music itself; I wanted to make that message clear to the world.” His mission is as worthy as Bono’s, his screed as radiant as the Pope’s. If anyone, it is this figure that could reclaim the world’s attention to our profound art, presented with such fascinating provocation.

Okay, people. I am waiting. For a nice, big, fat, juicy cheek. I mean check.

There is a noble tradition of excess and outrage in formal music. The isometrics of de Machaut, the French Ars subtilior, the violent slippery chromaticisms of Gesualdo, the denseness of Tallis, the eccentricities of W.F. Bach, Beethoven’s imperiousness, the lurid plots of the Verismo Operas, Mahler’s demands, and too many names in the 20th century to mention, culminating in the destructive danger music of the 60s to a point of no return.
   In this tradition, Mr. Leopold presents the classical violin repertoire provocatively on the stage by an extravagance of dress and behavior borrowed from the world of pop and caricature, yet unworthy of comparisons to David Bowie.
Styled as an android hermaphrodite blow-up doll with a giant Hershey’s Kiss on his skull, his artifice seems centered on disguise. At best, his antics are silly and tawdry. They quickly turn sour, then rancid. In his lolling on the piano routine, coming to from a stupor, he seems to be channeling the spirits of the unborn. Laugh-out-loud is the video shot of a Chopin Nocturne, where he is seated with his leathered legs crossed in apparent desperation to relieve himself. There is a naked photo of him engaged in an act of self-something (?) with his violin. Must we?
   Some of his thoughts: “My exterior is only a reflection of my interior,” are head-bangingly silly. To “I don’t experience Bach different (sic) from Madonna” makes us wonder if he feels that “Like A Virgin” clarifies the Mass in B minor. “Art is like milk: they {the audience} can turn it to yogurt or cheese.” This cheese stands alone. Wondrous is the vastness of his vapidity. “I am Viagra to classical music and Aspirin (sic) to pop culture.” Or Valium?

   Three directors could immortalize the artist formerly known as Hahn Bin. Lars von Trier, Tarantino, or John Waters. In Mr. Waters’ Pink Flamingos it is Divine, vying for the title “The Filthiest Person Alive” that forecasts this violinist.

   About Mr. Leopold’s work, there is something most disagreeably ephemeral and disposable. One thinks of the wonder Boy George and his couple of hits. He didn’t look very glamorous as a dumpy middle-aged man in prison fatigues picking up trash. One ponders how this violinist can grow past his burlesques. Does he pole-dance? Will he embrace his inner drag queen? What about a sex change? If he really wants to grow, he should work with Marina Abramovic.

   Towards the end there is an excerpt from Danse Macabre. At the climax he stands motionless with his bow straight above his head like a comic-book action hero, straps dangling as if from a Maypole, exposing an unshaved armpit. There is something most queasily necrophiliac to it all. Though he sounds fine, let’s call it the Dance Of The Dead End.

   If this jaded New Yorker can just say; if Amadeus Leopold’s place is playing in one of several cages suspended over the dance floor of a gay club attended by scantily clad go-go boys, he is not dismissible with an eye-roll but he does need a Warhol to direct him. Perhaps the French will proclaim his genius, à la Jerry Lewis, and the Germans might welcome him with a “Wunderbar!”


If it difficult to see his appeal outside of a world of two dimensions, but if he achieves his goals I’d love to meet him at the bank.

~CrackCritic

5 comments:

  1. Hah - brilliant! fantastically written commentary. Thank you!

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  3. Early on, he proclaimed himself a protege of Itzhak Perlman...I wonder what HE thinks of all this? The poor boy has lost himself in his schtick.

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