Kevin Sutton responded to David Lamb:
>> Ever try performing a major violin concerto while smiling? Maybe Hilary
>> could do it if she wanted to. I myself have trouble smiling even when
>> playing fiddle tunes.
> With all due respect to David, that's a weak answer.
> Professional soloists at the level of Ms. Hahn are more than capable of
> smiling when they perform. Being a virtuoso is her JOB. It's why she
> can command 40 K per performance. Mr. Lamb is perhaps not a professional
> on the level of Ms. Hahn, and so he can't smile when he performs. I
> would wager that he smiles when he performs the job for which he has
> been properly educated and trained.
With all due respect to Kevin, this strikes me as completely bizarre.
While I accept that extraneous sounds produced by musicians - you ain't
heard sniffin' till you've sat in the third row while The Artist Formerly
Known As Nige plays the Elgar Concerto! - can be offputting, I don't
see that their appearance and gestures, facial or otherwise, have anything
to do with how well they are playing.
Although, having said that, said gestures may be an entirely involuntary
part of their feeling the music: Glenn Gould was notorious for his
vocalisations while he played; he was aware of this, yet maintained that
the effort of *not* vocalising seriously undermined his playing. (BTW
Gould is far from alone in his vocalising: Barbirolli, Toscanini, Beecham.
Curzon and others all did it - just not always as audibly, although I
do remember the first time I heard JB's recording of Mahler 6, almost
40 years ago, and wondering what instrument could posisbly be producing
that growling sound at the bottom end; and on Beecham's live Sibelius 2
you can clearly hear him encouraging the orchestra with a shout of "hoy!"
at the climaxes.)
I think David's point is very well taken. Anyway, would you really like
to see a smiling alto sing Der Abschied, from Das Lied von der Erde? or
the Agnus Dei from the B minor Mass?
If you don't like the artist's facial expression there is a very simple
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