Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>...thought Pavarotti possessed an exciting, natural voice but
>nevertheless used it very crudely and very predictably. I greatly
>preferred him in his very early career, when he was still a very lyric
>tenor. *Then* he had both tonal beauty and musicianship. But, of course,
>you can't make a career with Donizetti. When he moved to the heavier
>roles, he became coarse, probably the result of forcing the voice.
I believe part of Pavarotti's appeal was the result of marketing, but I
also believe his "crudeness" contributed, to some extent, in his appeal.
For me, very little opera could be considered amongst the most profound
of musical expression. For me, it was that "crudeness" that may have
made his singing believable. It was less about the music and more about
As for the marketing, I honestly don't know how much that played a part
in it all. With the Joyce Hatto experience, I am reminded of the power
of both marketing and how we tend to fixate on a single performer versus
a multiplicity of performers...we foolishly look for the "greatest" or
the "top 10." Was he the best of his "era?" I guess that is, as you
suggest, only important to those who market and to those who are subject
to marketing...and I believe we all are to some extent.
I wonder if his recordings will still sell in time. I think of how
quickly (relatively speaking) von Karajan dropped from sight...which is
not to say he wasn't a fine musician...I must admit there are times when
I wonder if Toscanini was as great a musician as was his marketing...for
he has become, like Caruso, an icon. For me...well I would rather have
a Furtwangler, or a Koussevitzky any day...both being extremes of a sort.
I have never understood why a pianist like Kissen has such a following.
Was it because he played with such a wonderful technique when he was so
very young...yet, his playing sounds either sterile or irrational to me.
I wonder why Paderewski had such a following. Was it his persona, the
marketing support he got from Victor, etc. Why did the rediscovery of
Nyireghazi generate such publicity...for me, only his early piano rolls
are worth listening to...was it that his life made for such a great
story...there is now a good book about it. How much is marketing and
how much is a measure of quality?
Along those lines, watching Dudamel conduct, I felt, at least at this
point, that we might actually have a rising star that can breathe life
into music, instead of putting it on a pedestal to be venerated. Maybe
that is, in part, what Pavarotti did for many, he gave it life, maybe
in his own crude way. Maybe Pavarotti was not a great intellect...and
maybe Dudamel doesn't have depth, but it is rare to find it all, and
when it does happen, I don't know if we are going to be as moved by such
a balance. Somehow I think we might have felt just a bit sorry for this
overweight guy spilling his emotion so freely, even if his voice wasn't
the greatest of instruments and his intellect, the most informed. I
think of he psychological model of our relating best to our personal
level of differentiation holds true just as much in our relationship
with music in performance, as it does in personal relationships.
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery. For more information,
go to: http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html