In music, anything goes really, including within classical fare. Yet our own period is different in that we must also see what the latest contribution looks like, if not actually listen to it sometime during the entire process. Not to sound like some curmudgeon here, but just to offer an observation (get it? haahaha! crack myself up) regarding a glaring fact about us nowadays. That idealism must be aligned with consumerism to be afforded an audience-in-the-main.
First to point, this Mutter album is quite marvelous. We live in a special time of the female violin virtuosi… and most, if not all, are fairly attractive specimens in my humble opinion. Although this wasn’t the case when the music they perform was actually created, else we would STILL be talking about the fiddle babe. Back then the closest approximation to their approach was our own domain of electric guitar heroes Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan (et al). For example in the 19th century a mostly non-descript male with INCREDIBLE JAW DROPPING technique would saunter upon stage and completely blow away his audience for hours on end. Then journey forth to the next major european city for further triumph. Being physically attractive was a complete non-factor, the main being to skillfully present the most extreme range of “a wooden box with strings”. Niccolò Paganini had every health disadvantage one could contract, yet became legendary for his playing alone, not mere survival.
But back to the present. We are conditioned to accept the simplest fact that classical music is 98% beautiful and non-threatening, whilst the other 2% sells even WORSE! One gifts the Classical CD (usually) by the cover, then the composer, then lastly the store’s return policy. The amazon prime marketplace teems with “like new” selections from the used bin pond.
Actually a fun market for the trainspotter is created just by watching the prices rise and fall for previously marketed releases opposed to newer artists. For example, one music label obtains the entire catalog of Gustav Leonhardt for an extremely modest sum to which it can sell 8 hours worth @ 99cents a pop. What an incredible bargain!
Whilst another MAJOR label grooms a female sex bomb to perform these aged standards with her dress falling off and it goes double platinum EVERY TIME! Usually these are eastern european females who have risen to the top thru competition rather than school or conservatory. Otherwise the professors would never have let them be released in the wild. Yum, pregnant again comrade? No matter!
But I must admit, there is a distinction when it comes to today’s violin fighter ace in stockings. It seems the most primal quality to adore in females comes out mostly thru a modest listening, rather than just ooogling her delicious body. That genius being the widest span of feelings and emotions any human produces now. Judiciously I won’t mention particular names here, but the spectrum ranges from godlike aloofness to total agnosticism, warm motherly love to a flash terminator cadenza, from the most flighty of western sensitivities to eastern bloc totalitarianism… by at least seven or more divas since the turn of this century. Bravo!
Yet, what if she weren’t good looking? I’m not sure that problem exists for the hardened music aficionado (like myself). We’re blind to defects, even to our disadvantage. Our pleasure is in knowing that what she gives to all is priceless… so I’ll rather take that to the mp3 bank.