Thursday, January 30, 2014

Whang Bang No Thank You Lang²

Andreas Ottensamer, the recently appointed principal clarinetist of the tremendous Berlin Philharmonic and his esteemed colleague Wenzel Fuchs play a sublime introduction to Prokofieff’s Third Piano Concerto. Their playing only grows more mythic in one’s memory.
Next, the strings with a glorious crescendo buoyantly hustle in the superstar of the galaxy, THE pianist of the moment, in this sumptuously produced release from Sony, coupled with Bartok’s Second Concerto. Enter stage right Lang Lang, striding in wearing spandex and sneakers; or, is he in flight, suspended by invisible wires?

   From the opening bars, what detracts from his bustling athleticism
is his impetuous rhythm and erratic phrasing, his fast notes clumped together like locusts on the last ear of corn. Soon enough, Mr. Lang’s signature becomes apparent: willful, and comprehensible not as the efforts of an adolescent, but as a young child disciplined enough to control its tantrums. Perhaps this explains Sir Simon Rattle’s brittle, though enthusiastic, partnership.

   It could be argued that Lang Lang has a technique of some brilliance, but this chronicler finds it a disgrace to his trainers and handlers that at this stage of his prodigious career he will likely continue with barely a nod

to the decorum, civility, and propriety of this art we call fine, much less delve into matters of taste, tradition or aesthetics. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Fondest Adieu; or, À Bientôt, but not Goodbye.

 Glenn Dicterow, leaving the New York Philharmonic's concertmaster position 
after 34 years and thousands of performances, was
presented jointly by his orchestra and the Juilliard School in a
celebratory send-off recital (inappropriately promoted as a
‘farewell') in Alice Tully Hall Sunday evening. In one of Mr. Dicterow’s CDs the liner notes open with these beautiful sentences from Walter Piston.

   “Playing in an orchestra, the individual allows himself to be

absorbed in the mass. In chamber music performance, the musician
retains his individuality while sharing it on an equal basis with his
associates. The soloist is properly assertive and aggressive, striving
to project the music with all the vigor and authority at his command.”

   How could the composer so presciently predict our complete musician?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Letter from the Editor

Dear Fans and Friends of,

As you might have noticed, CrackCritic has been on a temporary hiatus - this has mostly been thanks to an assault some weeks ago. 

Eduard Laurel was greeted at an East Side diner with a homophobic slur by a table of 'bridge and tunnel' people. He left shortly thereafter and was knocked to the ground by one of them who was outside. There followed a hospital visit, police reports, and trauma both physical and mental, but I am pleased to inform you that he is on the mend, and you can look forward to new reviews of music both live and recorded very soon now. 

CrackCritic would like to wish you all a fortunate and safe 2014.

~ Editor