“This person is the next X!”

So Deutsche-Grammophon apparently just signed a great new pianist who won a big competition. The biggie actually — the Tchaik.

And I really wish the classical music world would appreciate the full, burning irony of it when they call people like him the “new Liszt” or the “new Chopin.”

No, unless he also writes a ton of great original music, he is not the new anybody. I’ve stated before that I’m not even a Liszt fan, really. I don’t care for his original music because a lot of it seems to be what I’ve called Evel-Knievel-jumping-over-buses. Just empty virtuoso stuff showing off how fast he could play. A bit Paganini-like. Cool to witness, but not really moving beyond that. (Although as I stated in my previous post, I am really impressed at how he moved the Beethoven symphs onto the piano. Those things may turn me into a Liszt fan someday, because it’s the first time I’ve actually really been excited by something he did.)

Nevertheless, the guy wrote his own stuff. He made it up. No, this young guy is not to be compared to Liszt for how well he can play Mephisto Waltz. How well could he have written it?

And it amazes me how the classical music world says things like this without even registering the irony. How did it happen that the whole concept of composing music doesn’t even strike them as something to factor in? How did they get like this? I’m not saying there’s anything bad about playing other people’s stuff. I’m not saying my stuff is anywhere near what the old greats did. Mozart was in a different galaxy from me by the time he was ten. I’m a piker, and I know it. And there is a lot of artistic elbow room to move around in while playing someone else’s music in a way that validates it and also communicates the performer’s ideas without stepping on the composer’s toes. That’s hard. Both are valid art, but it’s apples and oranges to compare how well Liszt could play his own music with how well someone else could play Liszt’s music.

Advertisements