A shocking cadenza. What would Mozart think?

October 2, 2007 at 06:07 AM · I've posted this link here and there, and get an interesting mix of reactions. What do YOU think?

Replies (100)

October 2, 2007 at 06:09 AM · Greetings,

this has been done to death on this site, not without some fur flying,



October 2, 2007 at 06:11 AM · This specific one? I thought it was another.

But there is more to ponder. Like, is he using a shoulder rest?

And how does this all relate to Anne-Sophie Mutter?

October 2, 2007 at 06:28 AM · and is he using gut strings with flat hair or not?

October 2, 2007 at 06:29 AM · although I`m damn sure he studied the piano with Chopin...

October 2, 2007 at 08:40 AM · I'm laughing like hell on the inside...

But seriously, does no one see how this is in bad taste? Not because he's playing gypsy and bluegrass on the violin. Nor because they have only a glancing connection to the concerto; as a Fantasy on Mozart they might be valid and entertaining. Not even because he goes for cheap and repetitive laughs with the bass-fiddle joint pizz (palpably pandering to the lowest common denominator). No, for none of these reasons. This is in horribly bad taste because he's sticking all of this into a piece where these elements are utterly out of place.

Never mind. This circular discussion and gleeful chain-yanking has done its job of depressing me to the point of wanting to quit the profession.

October 2, 2007 at 10:07 AM · when i first started watching it i thought it could be fun and cheerful, like mozart's music, but as the video progressed i changed my mind. i agree with emil, it is really done without taste, and he is just putting on a show using mozart as an excuse :P

and he is a good musician too. that cannot be denied but why do such talented people do this. he is not the only one i saw who turns music into mockery in order to... i dont know? to gain popularity? to make music more of an entertainment than art?

thats how i feel about it.

October 2, 2007 at 12:08 PM · It's a really cool piece of fiddling, improvisation and goofing around, and I've enjoyed watching it all the many times it's been posted here, but...not in Mozart. Please. Play it as a stand-alone encore or something, not the cadenza.

On the other hand, knowing what a prankster Wolfie was, maybe he'd get a kick out of it?

(PS: aaaack, Emil! Don't quit the violin!)

October 2, 2007 at 12:11 PM · Just so we're clear, also, I absolutely love Gilles. He came to the Innsbrook festival this past summer and brought the house down every single night, and all the wild applause was quite well-deserved. I just think this Mozart thing was a misjudgmenent on his part.

October 2, 2007 at 12:26 PM · by bad taste, you mean mixing different cuisines in one pot?:)

are you guys jealous because he can whistle?:)

October 2, 2007 at 07:03 PM · C'mon guys. Mozart was a rock star. He was an individualist, as I understand. Yeah, Gilles seems like he's putting on a show using Mozart as an excuse, and was probably in bad taste, BUT sometimes the "bad taste" music is more interesting to watch, and I bet Mozart agrees. Do I misunderstand history--I thought Mozart got the same reaction to some of his music? People thought he was in bad taste? For my own part, I admit I enjoyed watching this entertaining exhibition in bad taste.

October 2, 2007 at 01:19 PM · Stop using the word taste. Use the word discretion instead. It's bad because he doesn't use discretion, not bad taste because he doesn't use discretion. Plenty of good art is in somebody's poor taste :)

October 2, 2007 at 01:39 PM · Okay, sorry. Yes sir. (sulking, head bowed, sadly walking away from the computer screen, but using discretion . . . ) :)

October 2, 2007 at 01:44 PM · "sulking, head bowed, sadly walking away "

That's more like it!

P.S. It wasn't you. It was every post before you using the word. You inspired it really, when You said "sometimes bad taste music is better." That and remembering the time I got beat up really bad by a good teacher for using the word, followed by a clearer and more thorough explanation than I could give.

October 2, 2007 at 01:57 PM · Well, being overtly positive...

He certainly brought down the walls of convention. He made the concert experience fun, he showed off his extraordinary talent as several violinistic genres (which I suppose could be argued was one of the original intents of a cadenza), it brought humor...

Still, I admit that if one of my students wanted to do that, I'd probably ask them to look for another teacher... YET... I love the guy's playing and outright nerve (which is accomplished without being obnoxious and defiant.)

I the end, if I were in attendance at the concert, I'd probably have been quite put off. But, in youtube context, I thought it was quite inventive and entertaining and even a little bit refreshing...while remaining completely inappropriate. haha So there.

If someone can clarify my position on this, I'd appreciate it. ;-)

October 2, 2007 at 02:29 PM · Kimberlee, it's not a question of what Mozart would have or wouldn't have thought. That's psycho-history. It's a question of aesthetics. Bearnaise sauce doesn't belong in McDonalds, or McNuggets at the Four Seasons. Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale and, as such, doesn't belong in works of grand literature. Jim believes there is no such thing as quality - witness a post of his on a different thread - and therefore doesn't belong on a board where quality is the raison d'etre. And so forth.

Think of reading Aesop's fables and getting to the one about the boy who cried "wolf!". Upon reaching the moral, you read "The moral of this story is: early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." You'd be befuddled, regardless of whether Aesop approved or not. Or, in the middle of the Lord of the Rings movies you suddenly see someone scooting along the streets of the White City on a Segway. It destroys the scope, sweep and flavor of the story, regardless of whether Tolkien would or wouldn't have approved. The story points ELSEWHERE, you see.

As does the Mozart concerto. From the musical perspective (note: NOT NOT NOT NOT the historical one), the Apap cadenza is bad for reasons of proportions, harmonic development (or lack thereof) and stylistic incompatibility. Bad proportions are evinced in his taking a single snippet of the last movement for a cadenza that is almost as long as the movement itself. Bad harmonic sense in that the snippet is used in the most harmonically simplistic of means, while cadenzas should show mastery of harmonic development. Moreover, there is not even melodic development, merely the imposition of an additional, resolving fragment at the end of his little idee fixe. Bad stylistic compatibility because even though he uses wildly different styles those styles are in no way suggeted by nor relate to the concerto as a whole. They are alien not to Mozart the man but to Mozart's concerto, which has its own stylistic stamp.

You want a good cadenza? Look at Kreisler's brilliant one for the Beethoven concerto. It is stylistic. It is individualistic. It is proportional to the movement. It rehashes and rethinks and even recombines various different elements from the movement. Kreisler even has the breakthrough brainstorm of combining elements of the two main themes, something that even Beethoven himself seems not to have thought of. And he does this without inserting the Viennese coffeehouse music, or operetta-schmaltz, both of which were particularly dear to him. But this is because Kreisler was a great and tasteful musician, though his tastes might seem antiquated today. In that, however, we speak of debatable, subjective tastes that change over time - as in Rubens' models vs. Modigiliani's, for instance - whereas what Apap does is inarguably boorish.

What's saddest is that he is visibly, palpably a fantastic violinist. One capable of playing a light, fluffy and fun Mozart, as he demonstrates at the end of the movement. But the cadenza makes me wonder whether he even understands the good Mozart that he plays, or whether he imitates good Mozart with all the understanding of a parakeet. How else to explain...that?

October 2, 2007 at 02:54 PM · What post in another thread? Even I don't know what you're talking about. I wouldn't call LRRH "grand literature."

But you don't have to have grand literature to have quality. And so forth.

October 2, 2007 at 03:30 PM · I swore I'd never reply to your posts again, Jim, as I find your views deeply, viscerally offensive and your manners insulting. But this one last time, I'll make a liar of myself. Thus, to your questions:

1) "What post in another thread? Even I don't know what you're talking about."

Answer: That is because you post indiscriminately, on any and every thread, whether or not you have anything worthwhile to say, and usually and primarily to yank people's chains. (Personally, I find such behavior incomprehensible and the humor in annoying other people utterly alien.) But in any event, under such circumstances it's certainly easy to forget what you posted and where, and to overlook what your keyboard Tourette's pours forth.

2) "I wouldn't call LRRH 'grand literature.'"

Answer: Neither would I. Here's what I said, with the key word in caps: "Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale and, as such, DOESN'T belong in works of grand literature."

3) "But you don't have to have grand literature to have quality."

Answer: You can have a quality fairy tale. And you can have a quality comic book. But to say that either of them is the equal of, say, "Paradise Lost" is just disgusting. And basically disqualifies the opinions of the person making that assertion from having any validity in debates on aesthetics of any kind.

4) The quotes of yours from the Anne-Sophie Mutter thread that I was referencing, and that made me realize just how vile I find your position:

"From Jim W. Miller

Posted on September 30, 2007 at 04:22 AM

Little kids like any kind of music from any culture, and the idea of quality doesn't exist. Then it progresses to being institutionalized, frankly like everything else."

(In other words, quality is an artificial construct, societally imposed and having no objective validity? SHAME!)

And again, my personal favorite in summarizing you:

"From Jim W. Miller

Posted on October 1, 2007 at 10:14 PM

I have to say the word "taste" has no place in music or the arts."

Why are you here, Jim? Scratch that, I don't want to know. I have no respect left for you whatsoever.

October 2, 2007 at 03:26 PM · Sorry if the clip has been posted before. I hadn't seen it here.

I believe I saw evidence of shoulder rest, or at least the prongs of one.

I don't dispute that Apap is self-indulgent, and somewhat long-winded. I do think that to expect that every performance of this concerto must be a tour-de-force of tasteful brilliant impeccable musicological design and execution is to deny the aspect of public performance that provides us with entertainment. Apap did NOT desecrate a church or temple; he took an unconventional direction, taking a bit of melody on a tour of various alternate idioms. If this were the only version of the piece to exist, then it could be said that he failed his duty to the gods of classicism.

Possibly we need two levels of concert, one for those with doctorates in performance, and one for hoi polloi, the many-headed mob, with disposable income coupled with lack of taste.

Wanna bet which level would make a better living, or have a larger audience, or, periosh the thought, have more fun?

Whoops. Must've hit the Rant key by mistake.

October 2, 2007 at 04:01 PM · Emil, better to think less in in terms of taste, and more in terms of purpose and message and expression and mechanics and freedom. Don't take that to mean I'm saying anything goes. Not at all.

The quality quote, quality really is an artificial construct. It doesn't make it any less desirable or valuable. Some things don't depend on a frame of reference, math and the nature of the universe, whatever that is, for example. But quality in music is only what it's agreed to be in a particular culture. But I repeat, that doesn't make it any less desirable.

Doesn't matter if you hate my guts. I'm still your pal.

October 2, 2007 at 04:29 PM · My current teacher, Jody Gatwood, showed this clip during a lesson and we both wer in shock. He just couldn't stand it and while I wasn't crazy about it either, one has to appreciate certain elements of his performance. But I still think it is still in bad taste.

October 2, 2007 at 04:37 PM · Bob, this isn't the kind of human slip-and-foible for which performers should be forgiven. This is premeditated. And while it's not reasonable to suppose that EVERY performance must be "a tour-de-force of tasteful brilliant impeccable musicological design and execution", it's not unreasonable to suppose that every performance should avoid premeditated tastelessness.

Public performance IS entertainment. I've said that all along (do a google search on Chudnovsky and Jerusalem Post if you don't believe me). But I've also said that pandering to the lowest common denominator is insulting to the audience and destructive of the music. Not because it doesn't show respect. But because classical music cannot win against pop music's pop-tarts in a slutfest. Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn should NOT have been dressed up as Britney Spears in an attempt to get the mass audience all fired up about them. In a skank contest, they couldn't win against her and skanking them out would, thus, be a strategic miscalculation.

Similarly, the notion that in order to make it entertaining we must dress classical music down, must strip it of that which makes it unique, remarkable, moving, profound and eternal...is wrong.

Now, you say that "Apap did NOT desecrate a church or temple". Very well, by your reasoning, why shouldn't we hold a pagan orgy in St. Peter's? It'd attract crowds, wouldn't it? But we all disapprove of such things not because we're all Catholic but because respect for other people is incompatible with such an act. Not to mention that orgies would feel slightly out of place in a marble cathedral, though, for all I know, they might be absolutely perfect for Stonehenge.

And, in fact, even without a pagan orgy, St. Peter's DID arrest the man who went at Michelangelo's "Pieta" with a hammer. So why should we applaud someone who does the same with Mozart? I agree that there's an infinity of performances of Mozart and only one "Pieta"; that's why the hammer-wielder is in jail and why I don't (repeat: DO NOT) advocate the same thing for Apap. I just advocate disapproval, as considering good taste to be an optional frippery is a dangerous slope indeed.

I play for a general audience, Bob. I don't seek the approval of PhD's exclusively. But in seeking the approval of hoi polloi I don't present them with a pointless version of what I have to offer. Classical music has CLASS to offer, sophistication, subtlety and nuance. If they want loud, they'd be better off at a heavy metal concert; I'd be unable to match an electric guitar's volume. If they want sex, there's porn sites galore; no need to dress in my skivvies, nor could I hope to compete with a body-builder. If they want humor, there are stand-up comedians and PDQ Bach; the main point of a classical piece isn't laughter, though that is sometimes PART of the piece. If they want gypsy music, they should hear good gypsy music; in Apap, neither the gypsy playing nor the Mozart ends up well served.

It's not a mistake to seek fun at a classical concert. But fun comes in many forms, and you need to present and, yes, SELL classical music to hoi polloi as a type of fun they can't get elsewhere, rather than a poor man's version of the type of fun - from sleaze to snickers - that they CAN get from other forms of entertainment.

October 2, 2007 at 04:55 PM · Well said.

October 2, 2007 at 05:01 PM · I didn't read the whole thread, but again, Emil I absolutely agree. The violin playing isn't even that good in my opinion. I don't want to sound like an elitist, but classical music is the highest of art forms. When someone plays Mozart like this, it is like smearing lipstick on a Rembrandt.

October 2, 2007 at 05:13 PM · What I find especially odd about this performance is that Gilles usually isn't that tasteless! Yes, he plays in just about every style known to man and he can be really cheesy at times, but every time I've heard him he doesn't indulge in gratuitous cross-genre madness. I heard him play a solo recital a few months ago including Bach, Ysaye, some Irish fiddle tunes, a few improvisations, and a Romanian hora for an encore. And when he played Bach, he played Bach. When he played Ysaye, he played Ysaye (and some of the best Ysaye I've ever heard.) The Irish music was authentic. Etc. It was really fantastic. But this Mozart-potpourri....eh...

October 2, 2007 at 05:42 PM · Putting aside what you think of his Mozart, have any of you besides Mara heard this man actually play. He is a very wonderful and accomplished violinist who travels the world playing to packed houses.

Have you met and played with him Emil? The problem with some of you is that your jealous of his ability to do it all when you can only do some of it. It is an age old thing.

Go practice and quit bad mouthing every thing that you do not like simply because you cant do it yourself. RW

October 2, 2007 at 05:48 PM · Rachel, in every post of yours in all your time on v.com, whenever someone dislikes something you have always, without exception, gone first for the "you must be jealous" argument. I wonder whether this says something about you, actually. As for me, if the eighteen million pages of explanation of WHY I dislike what I dislike aren't enough, I suggest you re-read them as I really can't be bothered to say again what I've said eighteen million different ways. How's this, you can assume that I'm jealous and I can assume that you're either illiterate or incapable of understanding what you read.

Fair enough?

Amazingly enough, there are myriad violinists with whom I haven't played whom I like. And just as many whom I've heard live and whom I've disliked. And as for Apap, in my very first AND second posts on this very thread, I stress that he shows himself to be a wonderful violinist. But that he also shows such lack of taste in this clip that he leads me to wonder about whether his musicianship is genuine or a really extraordinary imitation of well-heeled playing.

October 2, 2007 at 05:50 PM · Rachel, I've heard Emil play too and he's better than you and me put together. I'm sure he could play just about anything if he so chose. Be careful who you accuse of what, OK?

October 2, 2007 at 06:12 PM · i dont think it was a question of who plays better than who. and almost everyone agred that apap is a talented violinist. the question was about a certain cadenza. and most people disliked the cadenza because they expected better from him.

who cares if emil plays better or worse than apap, he did come up with the best review of this video so far i think :P

meh... why cant we tolerate different opinions?

October 2, 2007 at 09:11 PM · Emil. Apap is certainly not in the same league as Mozart, I agree with you on that point. Sorry if I misled in that direction.

My only wish was to say that I enjoy Apap, for what he is. It would be more awkward for me to watch Gilles Apap struggle trying to be something he's not, than it is to watch this shocking cadenza because that's what he is. At the end of the day, I appreciate Gilles Apap. That's all (even if it is, I completely agree, in poor taste--or ill use of discretion or whatever). I was shocked at first, but then I decided I would try to appreciate what I was hearing. I don't know how I would feel if I were in the concert hall. I wasn't there. I can only judge my youtube experience.

The reason I responded to whether or not Mozart would approve? That was the poster's original question . . . but, you are correct on that point as well. It is silly to answer a question no one can know the answer to.

October 2, 2007 at 06:32 PM · I liked it. Nice break from Mozart, and in the middle, where you can really use it!

Seriously though, it also depends on the context. Was this some summer concert or something like that?

October 3, 2007 at 01:06 AM · Well, he does get the tempo right prior to the middle so when there's that nice break like Howard points out it's a quite predictable change. Then he's quite conservative also, he's not even in drag (then he could lift his skirt an do the cha cha). If he keeps working on it, I'm assured he'll get the Slavic stuff right but this Yankee stuff will take ages! It's also quite unfortunate he plays “in tune.” One does get the impression that the “stage” is well constructed: “why doesn't it fall apart somewhere?”

October 3, 2007 at 04:44 AM · Perhaps, if this cadenza had been performed as an encore, following the Mozart concerto, no one would be having fits about its quality/validity?

I find a measure of relief in seeing performers willing to take risks (and landslides of criticism) to do unconventional things to reach (and provoke) wider audiences. How many people have viewed this on Youtube!? :) Not every single person is destined to do things the "way it's always been done."

It's good to criticize...I'd find this sort of thing out place on say, a student recital because a that point in a musician's development, they are trying to understand and assimilate a couple centuries of performance practice, and be able to demonstrate a certain set of skills in a defined environment. At the same time, one has to consider the audience too...I think his audience was fairly receptive for this performance. That might not be the case everywhere!

I just can't support a stance that insists that performances like this should not happen, and/or don't have the right to exist. I appreciate Gilles for what he brings to the music, not what he (apparently) takes away. I'd say the same is true for any performer that happens to be a lightning rod for controversy (just look at the stones that are flung over Heifetz, Mutter, Vengerov, Ricci, Chang, O'Connor, etc).

October 2, 2007 at 09:04 PM · I agree, Gene.

October 2, 2007 at 07:54 PM · Jim Miller points out that the word "taste" is tricky, and subject to various interpretations. So I won't say that the performance is in bad taste. Rather I'll say that it is grossly and repulsively insensitive. The concerto may be likened to a holy temple, a place separate and set aside for thoughts of the highest refinement. Hearing this cadenza is akin to seeing the desecration of a holy temple.

October 2, 2007 at 07:47 PM · I agree with Emil's review. What really bothered me about this so called "cadenza" was that it was so self-indulgent. It was as if Apap cramed every little trick he ever thought of into the piece. Strangely this reminded me of Steve Vie's concert that I went to two weeks ago. Steve Vie is a rock guitarist who has two violinists in his band. In one of the songs the violinists "battled" together using Bach's Prelludium in E and Novacek's Moto Perpetuo. It was hillarious, it was fantastic and it fit right into general mood of the concert. I think that a rock concert like that would have been an appropriate forum for the Apap cadenza!

By the way, if Steve Vie ever comes to your town I highly recommend seeing his show.....highly accomplished playing and very entertaining even if you are not a guitar fan.

October 2, 2007 at 09:09 PM · I had the opportunity to play with Gilles this summer at Music Academy of the West. The first thing I can say is that he's a great guy who believes in everything that he is doing. He plays every note with sincerity. Do I agree with all of it? No, but I admire and applaud his creativity. Over and over at our rehearsals, Gilles encouraged us to play as if we were truly enthusiastic and inspired by what we are playing.

Gilles performed Mozart's 4th violin concerto with our chamber orchestra. As for the concerto, it had all of the quirks and interesting eyebrow-raising ideas that you could come to expect out of Gilles, but the cadenza was quite different from the now famous one on You-Tube. It had the same formula - Mozart travels to different countries- but unlike the Youtube cadenza, almost every new countries' theme had a direct harmonic or rhythmic relation to the 3rd movement's theme. To be honest, I liked this cadenza much more than the You-Tube one, which seems like an idea that hasn't totally been developed yet. As he explained the cadenza to us(we were all involved with snapping our fingers, pizzicato etc.) I was amazed at the thought he had put into it. This wasn't some gypsy improvising random fantasies on a theme of mozart, he had really worked it out and made it something that lives. As we were listening to the Cadenza in the concert, we actually felt as if we were traveling with Mozart, living vicariously through Gilles, as he marauded through other countries and had his music transformed.

My favorite Gilles quotation was during an early morning rehearsal of a Mozart Divertimento that Gilles was conducting. We finished playing through the first movement and Gilles said: "You know, I know its 9:30 in the morning, but I just hate...you know...looking at dead people. Or something..." It was hysterical, but the point and message was clear. We are playing music because it makes us feel alive. Gilles approach to music is as if it is a living organism, always being shaped and crafted. No two notes should be the same. Again, I didn't necessarily agree with many of the things Gilles told us to do or the way he played certain passages, but I came away inspired by his love for all music and his ingenious way of showing it.

October 2, 2007 at 09:27 PM · Sorry...double post.

October 2, 2007 at 09:34 PM · Gene wrote: "Perhaps, if this cadenza had been performed as an encore, following the Mozart concerto, no one would be having fits about its quality/validity?"

That's EXACTLY the point.

October 2, 2007 at 09:46 PM · "It had the same formula - Mozart travels to different countries"

I don't see the desecration then. Nothing insensitive on his part. Maybe he's only guilty of not explaining himself to the audience (as if he should have to need to).

October 2, 2007 at 09:42 PM · Very accomplished playing and "performing".

If there is no good and no bad then there can be nothing wrong with this.

I do believe in hierarchies of values. There is something called good. It is very real but I don't think that it is objectively "knowable" in any modern scientific sense.

I can't say anything positive about this cadenza as art.

If you want to truly get a glimpse of the divine try to find and listen to Fritz Kresler playing the Mozart D Major concerto. It is probably the most sublime performance of any concerto at any time. It will put Apap's performance in its proper place.

October 2, 2007 at 10:17 PM · "There is something called good. It is very real but I don't think that it is objectively "knowable" in any modern scientific sense. "

It's quantifiable as an attempt to understand before you condemn, maybe. And there is good music and bad music. I only meant good and bad music are our constructs, like language, rather something that was waiting to be discovered.

My personal reaction to it was curiousity the first time through to see what he was going to do. After that I wasn't interested in it, and that included not wondering why he did it. But I wouldn't have jumped on him without going through that step though, because every man deserves a fair trial before the condemnation. And maybe "bad taste" isn't even a crime :D

October 2, 2007 at 10:31 PM · Buri knows all--fur flying. I should have heeded. I'm off.

October 2, 2007 at 10:32 PM · Jim,

I was thinking about what you said about him not explaining himself while we were performing the concerto. What if Gilles had stopped right as he began the trip and said "Mozart travels the world." I wonder if that would clarify things for people who seem so disgusted by this. I don't really see why everyone is overreacting to a fun and very clever cadenza. This is not life or death, folks.

October 2, 2007 at 10:56 PM · I was thinking too. Go to a country so play some music from that country is sort of too literal to be interesting. But it's just a fun thing I guess like you say and doesn't deserve all that.

October 2, 2007 at 11:14 PM · Emil,

Have you noticed that all the people that you and others constantly condemn on this site are highly successful artists and that they never come here and post.

Could it be that they are busy performing and do not have the time to trash their collegues, or could it be that they are so secure in their on playing that they dont care about what you or anyone else thinks about it.

I can find itineraries for all the most famous players and where they are performing but I cant seem to find yours. Please tell me where to find your itinerary, I would like if possible to hear you play.

If you play as well as you run your mouth it should be a most gratifying concert for the listeners. RW

October 2, 2007 at 11:26 PM · Intermission

October 2, 2007 at 11:36 PM · Corwin, if there is no good and no bad, how is one to say this is accomplished playing? or "performing"? Isn't it bad because he failed to drop his trousers and failed to play out of tune? And if there is something called "good", that is real but not objectively knowable, then what relevance does it have? "Good" is a value judgement, yet you're saying that it can't be made. As such, it doesn't exist. It's the old dodge of "I think Jesus was a great moral teacher but not the Son of God". As C.S. Lewis pointed out, you can't have it both ways (says li'l ol' Jewish me). It's the old "intelligent design" dodge. It pays lip service to something too big to dismiss but makes the obfuscation irrelevant. In other words, if there's an intelligence to the universal design, intelligence involves sentience which involves a SENTIENT designer. I.e. God. By the same token, if there's an objective "good" it must be perceptible or else who or what is making the value judgment?

Now, on to slightly less slippery concepts. Josh, no it's not life and death. No music is. It's nonetheless important. Because when we make quality an elitist concept, we're encouraging devolution, regression and barbarism. Apap doesn't go that far, naturally. But he's pointing the way. And those who would much rather mindlessly parrot that most odious of Americanisms - namely, "it's all good" - than they are willing to think will follow the path he indicates and far surpass him thereon. It's happened before in history, generally in nightmarish dystopias. It's horrible to see it happening in a country like this.

Oliver, AMEN! to your "I won't say that the performance is in bad taste. Rather I'll say that it is grossly and repulsively insensitive." Nothing to add...

Gene, of course not every person need do things the way it's always been done. Once again (and again and again and again) it's not CONFORMITY I'm preaching. It's TASTE. It's an understanding of the different roles and appropriate settings for gypsy music vs. klezmer vs. Mozart. And this is something for which none of the examples you gave were ever criticized. They were rebuked for various things, but never for having bad taste. Taste, regardless of what such titans as Mr. Miller thinks, is the sine qua non of being an artist. For a real artist to have that liability is like for a painter to paint while blind, or for a chef to cook without either a functioning nose or taste buds.

Such performances do NOT have a right to exist because they perpetuate destructive and dangerous perspectives. THAT is what Gilles brings to the music: its eventual destruction. Such trends should not be explored merely because they are unusual. By that reasoning, we should all try cannibalism and denounce those stick-in-the-mud conservatives who tell us it's unsavory.

Kimberlee, I would have greatly enjoyed this performance as a stand-alone work. It'd have been a jazz-blues-everything-else fusion and would have been a nice homage to its distant origins in classical music. I think Gilles is a marvelous violinist, too. And, in a very real sense, your point about this being on YouTube is singularly apropos. In listening to the excerpt, the bit before the cadenza, cadenza and the bit after, it is already out of context and thus easy to perceive as only tangentially Mozart. But in a concert hall, in the midst of the overall concerto, I'm sure you would also have found it as distracting and tasteless as I did.

And finally, it's not because Apap uses ethno and pop musical language in a classical hall that I object. It's because the connection is jarring, artificial, distracting, and any number of other, similar adjectives. I object to the Schnittke cadenza to the Beethoven concerto for EXACTLY the same reason. It is an intrusion, an anachronism, and does nothing either for the concerto or for one's understanding of it. It merely overshadows the piece, Schnittke elbowing Beethoven aside, in one's post-concert recollections. As such, it is quite objectively "wrong".

October 2, 2007 at 10:19 PM · Oliver... please. A "holy temple?" Isn't that just a little much? Does that mean that you are a priest? No, I know you are a good violinst because I've been to your website, but, just to review, a concerto is just a "song" with a little more baggage, not in the least "holy" or immutable. Concertos are played in concert halls, not (generally) churches, cemetaries or other sacred ground. They are not the word of God, even metaphorically, nor even that of a prophet, just something written by somewhat unusually smart and creative people. So "holy" they are not...

October 2, 2007 at 11:47 PM · Rachel, I'll be in Florida in November for a concert with the Port Charlotte Orchestra (Paganini No. 2) on the 11th. And if you can't use Google to find that, or my concert in NY on Thursday, or my concert at Kennedy Center with my new trio on the 13th, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you can't read.

As for successful artists, thank God it's not a prerequisite to be successful in order to be good. Or in order to be bad and still have a critical faculty. And, once again for your seemingly handicapped understanding, being jealous is not a prerequisite to criticize. Some of us...gasp!...dislike even those things of which we're not jealous. Amazing, isn't it?

October 2, 2007 at 11:57 PM · "Such performances do NOT have a right to exist because they perpetuate destructive and dangerous perspectives."

That statement to me is much more dangerous than anything poor old Gilles is doing. I'm perfectly willing to see how you hate this cadenza. It is jarring, it is out of place, and its shocking to a certain extent. But(and when I say this I am NOT, I repeat, NOT, trying to compare Beethoven's genius to Gilles harmless little cadenza) at the premiere of Beethoven's Eroica symphony, didn't someone shout out, "Oh, if this thing will ever end!"? Didn't an old signpost in Boston's Symphony Hall proclaim, "Exit in case of Brahms."? What I'm trying to say is that calling a performance dangerous is, to me, much more dangerous than any performance can be. To you, this cadenza is disgusting, to me, its really quite clever, and to many many people(as the amount of views of the video can attest) its simply pretty neat that he had this idea.

The best way I think to understand Gilles mentality is that to him, there is absolutely no reason to keep Mozart in another realm from Gypsy music. It's all music, isn't it? To him, its not all the same, but it is the same. Does that make any sense? He doesn't consider Mozart to be technically, morally, spiritually, or musically superior to any of those Irish reels or Indian ragas that he was playing. It's all music to him, and I have to say that I agree with him. Emil, you certainly have a right to hate what Gilles does, but I would not call it dangerous. I would call it exciting that someone has the guts and creativity to pull music like this off.

October 2, 2007 at 11:50 PM · Emil, it's not a matter of making "quality" per se an "elitist concept". It's the mother insisting to her daughter that she fold her napkin in her lap just so, or hold the tea cup JUST SO. Yes,on the surface that phenomenon is about "quality", but really perfused with an elitist agenda. As for you, you are writing poetry in Esperanto and then getting mad that nobody cares. Anyway, aren't YOU the one who performed Paganini with a hybrid cadenza, part original and part "Oh Shenandoah"??? It's but a small step from that to what we see here. Really not even a step, more of the slither of the intellectually dishonest.

October 3, 2007 at 12:04 AM · ...And anyway,since you mentioned C.S. Lewis, the whole "Liar, Lunatic or Lord" thing is stupid. One can be all of those things or any of them, depending on point of view, just as one can be both paranoid but still correct that one is being followed, spied upon etc. Stupid english sophistry, that,and not worthy of the formidable talent that C.S. Lewis had.

October 3, 2007 at 12:16 AM · Howard, in Paganini it's not as jarring. But even so, I'll be the first to say I was in the wrong to have done that! Moreover, I have never defended that decision, prompted as it was by...er...necessity. In short, I've the decency and taste to know that, even for Paganini, it was the wrong thing to do.

Josh, just because people laughed at various geniuses in the past doesn't mean that people's laughter and disapprobation is some litmus test of genius. So let's set that argument aside.

But you say two things that merit another look. First, "to me, its really quite clever, and to many many people(as the amount of views of the video can attest) its simply pretty neat that he had this idea." Well, surprise! Taste is routinely decried and portrayed as an optional addendum and people who have been fed this poison then flock to a poison-source. Hardly a validation of their judgment or the thing to which they've flocked.

Second, you say "The best way I think to understand Gilles mentality is that to him, there is absolutely no reason to keep Mozart in another realm from Gypsy music. It's all music, isn't it? To him, its not all the same, but it is the same."

I'm sorry, but when the discussion goes there, there's really no further point. When there is no qualitative difference between Mozart and a Czardas, one really may as well give up the profession. Mara? Why not sell junk bonds? In a world of optional morality and aesthetics, why not grab as large a chunk as possible and scoff at intangibles?

PS. Howard, since you revert, in your implacable opposition to religion, to your anti-Lewis stance, I must point out that "great moral teacher" and "scoundrel" are indeed mutually exclusive. Which is the dichotomy that Lewis set up, and quite unassailably.

October 3, 2007 at 12:28 AM · "...more of the slither of the intellectually dishonest. "

He's putting on a show, so intellectual honesty doesn't matter.

October 3, 2007 at 12:26 AM · ^^ delete from script

October 3, 2007 at 12:29 AM · LOL. What do you think of this piece of music, Joe?

October 3, 2007 at 12:27 AM · Emil, Perhaps you may want to read what I wrote. I would have said re-read but that wouldn't be correct. Skimming only gets you in trouble.

I didn't say there was no good and no bad.

Once you read what I wrote you'll see how much I agree with you.

October 3, 2007 at 12:33 AM · Only think of you,Jim--as an inconsequential participant in the drama presented.

October 3, 2007 at 12:40 AM · Come on, Emil. History is filled with "great moral teachers" who were scoundrels, at least in some part of their life. As for Jesus' life, we really don't know much about him save what the Church decided to leave in to suit the Church's needs, right? So who's to say. My point was only that deciding between one of C. S. Lewis' "L's" is a false trichotomy...

And I'm NOT anti-religious at all, just interested in keeping the record straight. Just because a couple of thousand years goes by doesn't mean you can just make stuff up.

October 3, 2007 at 12:36 AM · ... and I won't let your dogma eat his cadenza, though it may get my karma.

October 3, 2007 at 12:38 AM · Jim, you misunderstood me. I meant that what Emil did with the Paganini cadenza was but a small slither away from what he's decrying.

October 3, 2007 at 12:42 AM · Howard, I understood you.


"Only think of you,Jim--as an inconsequential participant in the drama presented. "

That's what I thought ;)

October 3, 2007 at 12:40 AM · It was quite an interesting clip to watch but it had absolutely nothing to do with Mozart, which raises the question of why even connect the name of the composer with whistling and country-singing. Maybe somebody assumed that a good violinist playing Mozart, and a good fiddler playing ragtime by themselves would not generate nearly the same publicity (and level of discussion on violinist.com) as one violinist juxtaposing both? Something to think about...

October 3, 2007 at 12:53 AM · Maybe the guy was just BORED from playing the same *^%& concerto 50 million times since he was 8! That's probably all it was. Just boredom. He wanted to actually do something new in classical music. Imagine that.Of course, I agree it was a bit weird...

October 3, 2007 at 01:02 AM · I'm cynical enough to agree with Igor as my first thought. That's why I'm thankful to see the opinions of people like Oliver, even if I don't always agree with them. It's reassuring. It means there's something out there besides getting fleeced.

October 3, 2007 at 01:06 AM · Hey Jim,you don't even realize---do you---that your comments are ludicrous.

October 3, 2007 at 01:04 AM · Gilles performance is tasteless. There is no doubt about that. He stretches the boundaries of good sense and good taste to a ludicrous extreme.

That being said, I enjoyed the performance immensely. I enjoyed the splendid violin playing, the imagination, the color, the vitality, the freshness, the command of many styles including Mozart's, the artistic projection, etc.

Also I regard this performance as a welcome antidote for the stultifying rigidity and conformity that rules our musical culture today. None of the great composers would have submitted to such regimentation of their musical impulses, nor, IMHO would they have asked their interpreters to do so.

October 3, 2007 at 01:35 AM · Joe, my comments aren't ludicrous. If someone can ignore the sentence fragments and comma splices, they actually make a lot of sense :)

October 3, 2007 at 01:26 AM · If I may drift ever so slightly away from the specific topic of The Infamous Gilles Cadenza and into the immortal topic of "is some music just plain better than other?"

As everyone probably knows by now, I've just started my freshman year at conservatory. I'm working quite hard already but I know that I'm still working nowhere near as hard as I'm going to need to for the next four years. In addition to spending hours a day in the practice room honing my craft, refining my technique and (in the immortal words of Mr. Vitek) "learning to be the boss of my fingers", I'm studying the theory and history of music, the lives and times of the composers and the wider cultural context in which their works were written, and I'm also learning (expletive deleted) solfege on top of that.

So, my question for all the "all music is created equal" types is this: are you prepared to tell me that the Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Bartok I will be on my way to mastering after these four grueling years is on the same level of artistic worth and value as the stuff I would be playing had I chosen to ditch this whole "higher education" scam and stay home, learn three chords on the electric guitar, write some sophomorically-rhymed lyrics about pimps or jealousy or kinky sex, and sing them to an inanely repetitive tune while dancing in some skimpy costume on MTV?

October 3, 2007 at 06:31 AM ·

October 3, 2007 at 02:34 AM · Mara, you'll recognize this as an equally leading question. Should I ignore the music of Joseph Spence and the poetry of Woody Guthrie to study 70s-style academic music and the poetry of Ogden Nash? Sometimes Bach is king, and then sometimes you hear somebody improvising something pretty nearly as complicated and interesting. It's not a competition. You wouldn't study biology because it's "better than" geology. The motivation should be doing what intrigues you, in my opinion. Musically speaking, going where your voice is. You still want me to say which I think is better, but it's just not a competition. What it is is a wide world. I'll get killed now of course :)

October 3, 2007 at 02:26 AM · Mara, When I was a youth Time Magazine's music "section" such as it was only considered classical music. Then in the late 60's it got hip and it is emblematic of the downhill slide in all of our values.

My means of expressing this is not sophisticated but if your cosmos is Godless on the inside and the outside then all music is indeed equal.

My cosmos was created by God and that means there is goodness and excellence. Keep studying and learning. It is worth it if only for your own soul's sake.

October 3, 2007 at 02:33 AM · "Joe, my comments aren't ludicrous. If someone can ignore the sentence fragments and comma splices, they actually make a lot of sense :)"

Jim you actually have a beautiful ability for abstract thought, when you don't get cheap about it.

So you SHOULD listen to mara and stay away from Jimmy Hendricks and enough of these plattitudes.

October 3, 2007 at 02:41 AM · I have been learning new words:


rhetoric and


Are you impressed?

October 3, 2007 at 02:47 AM · Just spell Jimi Hendrix right, so you don't remind me of phony autographs on ebay :)

October 3, 2007 at 02:42 AM · At the risk of mixing posts and making light of all of your well considered strongly held opinions I offer two limericks (oh no!)

You asked what Mozart would think

Oh how this has raised such a stink!

To some Gilles' sounds unconventional

inspire expletives unmentionable

But Mozart would've just downed a stiff drink!

Of Gilles' individual way

There is little more one can say

'Tis true he broke form

And challenged the norm

If you disapprove you could just stay away

I shall quit while I'm behind.

May I quote you Buri? "cheers"

October 3, 2007 at 02:57 AM · Shoot, Dang, and I lost that amazing pencil with a troll doll at the eraser end with it's purple hair sticking up on end giving that special hair raising transcendental "TWANG" effect one could only associate with Mr. Hendrix.

And I could have sold you an authentic Jimmy Hendrix autograph signed with that pencil!

excusata: Jimi Hendrix then

October 3, 2007 at 03:01 AM · Ah Corwin, yes, there has been such a "downhill slide" in our values since the golden age of ... what, the 40's? Yup... Hitler and all that, oh and can you say "Nagasaki and Hiroshima"??? How about the value filled 50's with the Korean war and start of the cold war, the continuation of american apartheid etc. etc. etc. etc. Wanna go back farther? Perhaps values were better in the early part of the century? Please. I'll take Britney Spears and leave you two world wars, oppressive religion, uncured diseases, unchecked racism and all the rest of the "great values" of the past!

I remember my mother (who would be 80 years old now) used to say much the same thing you just did about our downhill slide, especially with regard to popular culture. My reply to her was that our generation was finally getting around to expressing two things- the almost unimaginable horrors of modern war AND our graduation into the ranks of junior space aliens (so to speak, roelof!!) with our modern technology. All of our music has had to digest these two facts and therefor cannot just stay the same.

October 3, 2007 at 03:35 AM · Jim Miller Said "The motivation should be doing what intrigues you, in my opinion. Musically speaking, going where your voice is."

Bravo and thanks, Jim!

October 3, 2007 at 03:44 AM · Emil,

First of all, I was not implying that Gilles is a genius because YOU are laughing at him. I think I made myself perfectly clear about that. I'm not comparing him to Beethoven. I am saying that all composers had to work outside of acceptable boundaries and by saying that Gilles' performance does not have a RIGHT TO EXIST, you are taking part in the same kind of hyperbolic criticism that Beethoven etc. received.

"People who have been fed this poison then flock to a poison-source. Hardly a validation of their judgment or the thing to which they've flocked."

Do you realize how insulting this is? I'm not sure if you are speaking generally or specifically, but if you mean Gilles, you are directly insulting me and many others, just because you don't enjoy a certain performance. I don't want to sink to your level of degradation and condescension, but my judgment of this "thing", a human being by the way, is none of your business. You really think you have a right to call my judgment poisoned when you've never talked to me beyond a few paragraphs? Just to let you know, many of those 250,000 views are classical musicians who love what Gilles does. They are just as respected as you. At the end of our performance of the 4th concerto, Zvi Zeitlin, our 85 year old, fireball violin teacher, yelled "Bravo!" from the front row. I defy you to call his judgment poisoned.

"I'm sorry, but when the discussion goes there, there's really no further point. When there is no qualitative difference between Mozart and a Czardas, one really may as well give up the profession. Mara? Why not sell junk bonds? In a world of optional morality and aesthetics, why not grab as large a chunk as possible and scoff at intangibles?"

Again, I understand that posting on a message board can easily make people misread posts, but if I'm reading this correctly, do you have any idea how patronizing and condescending this sounds?(I'm sure you do, you're a smart guy.) From the looks of it, you are implying that any music that does not come from your(and my) tiny corner of the music spectrum, anything that is not strictly "classical"(I don't mean just classical period, I mean everything up until avant-garde) does not have as much value as your music. You are deriding hundreds of cultures with this statement. Do I think that Czardas is better music than Mozart? Not particularly, but I have no right to objectively say that it has no "morality or aesthetics." Tell that to the violinists of Taraf de Haidouks, a hungarian gypsy band who created arrangements of Bartok's Hungarian Dances. Tell that to Bartok himself!! Bartok, who went from village to village, collecting folk songs. Or Mahler, or Shostakovich, or Brahms, or Schubert, or Schumann, the list goes on and on, geniuses who drew from folk music to create their works. Again, I repeat ad nauseum that I'm not comparing this trifle of a cadenza to any of the above composers, I'm saying that you are coming off as incredibly patronizing to other culture's music. You also seem to be encouraging censorship by saying explicitly that Gilles' performance has no right to exist. Stunning.

Edit: Sorry for any grammatical errors, this was written quite quickly and sleepily...

October 3, 2007 at 04:40 AM · Woof. It's getting a bit brisk hereabouts, did anyone notice? I didn't mean to be throwing a bucket of blood into the shark tank; I thought it was just music.

Perhaps it wpuld be best to put Apap and his ilk into some sort of Camp, where their commonplace and corrupt maunderings will not contaminate the sensory inputs of the Musically Pure. It can be of no interest to us what becomes of them there. Let them fiddle with gypsies and the like, if they will.

October 3, 2007 at 04:59 AM · Bravo Josh,

Your post is excellent and I agree completely with everything that you have said.

The only problem is that you are talking to Emil who has one opinion and that is his own. No one else has one unless it agrees with his. Go back and look at all of his post in the past and you will see that he considers his word the first and foremost in every discussion.

If anything should not exist it shouldnt be the cadenza of Gilles Apap but the slander of a fellow violinist by Emil. Music is in trouble when one person feels that they are the final say in how it should be performed. To each his own and if anyone of us doesnt particularly like a certain performance then just simply do not listen. I dont listen to rap but who am I to say that it shouldnt exist.

This thread started with a warning not to trash Anne-Sophie Mutter. I think the same courtesy should be applied to Gilles Apap and all of the violinist of the world. RW

October 3, 2007 at 04:54 AM · EDIT: Whoa, things are coming fast and furiou! This is a reply to Josh's post two posts up.

If you told Bartók that "Csárdás" was a great piece, you would be subjected to an angry rant for the next three hours. "Csárdás", moreover, along with related "gypsy" coffee-house csárdásók and magyarnotak, is not Hungarian folk music and has absolutely nothing in common with the authentic folk music that Bartok dedicated his too-short life to discovering, preserving, and perpetuating. That so-called "gypsy" music is the work of dilletante popular composers from the mid and late nineteenth centuries, influenced much more strongly by Viennese popular style than anything remotely to do with real Hungarian folk music.

Sorry for the off-topic, but it's an important distinction.

October 3, 2007 at 04:55 AM · Rachel, a general comment: often on this forum I notice people considering someone stating that he or she does not care for a particular violinist, performance or stylistic choice to be "trashing." I've seen people hounded off the site for declaring that they don't especially like Heifetz, and I myself was ripped to bits once after I remarked that I consider a certain pop violinist "cheesy."

Can we get one thing clear here? Stating one's own personal opinion of dislike DOES NOT equal personal attack, slander or "trashing" of the violinist in question. (Professionals, incidentally, can handle criticism. They've heard it all before.)

October 3, 2007 at 05:01 AM · Mara,

In some cases you are correct and in others you are not. I dont see anything wrong with someone not liking a performance, just say so and be done with it. Emil took it farther than this and I think that this is wrong. I know you read all his post and if you see it differently than so be it.

I see it as a personal trashing of a great violinist. I also think that this is why the great ones do not come here and post. The ones that have in the past didnt seem to stay around long. I could tell you a few of the names but I feel that you already know them. RW

October 3, 2007 at 05:06 AM · Well, he's entitled to his opinion as much as you are, isn't he? Even if you find it offensive? Frankly, although I don't always agree with him, I find his no-BS forthrightness and honesty rather refreshing.

Yes, and as for that great violinist, we both know who we're talking about: as far as I remember, he left after being viciously attacked for daring to state his personal opinion with regards to Heifetz. Criticism of his own playing never entered into the equation.

October 3, 2007 at 05:40 AM · > It's not CONFORMITY I'm preaching.

> It's TASTE.

Just because you inhabit a particular cultural and social space, it does not mean that every single person on this planet wishes to share your habitat. There are people who despise Harry Potter as a derivative, watered-down version of serious fantasy novels, yet it is a compelling work in its own right (judging by the numbers of volumes in the hands of ordinary people), and has encouraged more than one young person to try and read above and beyond their current level,which this day in age, is an admirable thing.

> Such performances do NOT have a right to

> exist because they perpetuate destructive

> and dangerous perspectives. THAT is what

> Gilles brings to the music: its eventual

> destruction.

Again, this is more emotionally charged fear-mongering. No one can believe for a moment that what Gilles does will cause the destruction of music. Even if that were possible, I'd easily nominate a couple other better candidates than Gilles for the bitter and terrible end of music.

The entire reason for the existence of art at many points throughout history has been to perpetuate "destructive and dangerous perspectives."

What you advocate is truly what causes the destruction of music: the censor of ideas that are not your own, to the extent that no other viewpoints are permitted to exist.

October 3, 2007 at 05:51 AM · "Criticism of his own playing never entered into the equation. "

That's not exactly right. It turned into who are you to say, because you're not equal to Heiftez's pinky.

October 3, 2007 at 05:54 AM · Oh yeah...I was mostly remembering gems like "Ty prosto durak i balvan...and you should learn some manners!" But anyway, that's an old story, let's not get lost in re-hashing that one.

October 3, 2007 at 06:12 AM · Inresponse to a few comments made above.This is a cadenza and not an original composition.If it had been the latter anything goes so to say in a cadenza there are certain other aspects to take into consideration.A cadenza is traditionally a few moments where in the past the solioist was at liberty to display his technique usually using thematic material from the concerto.However the lenghth of the cadenza should not be out of proportion to the work itself and in this instance I find it way too long.Infact it would be better presented as a piece in its own right 'Variations on a theme by Mozart' and then we would not be having this discussion here but rather we would be applauding Mr Apap on his mastery.

October 3, 2007 at 06:27 AM ·

October 3, 2007 at 06:51 AM · Gilles Apap makes me happy. This thread makes me sad.

Is that how it always will be?

That I would fight you for me?

October 3, 2007 at 11:50 AM · Nate,

I think his website is hilarious. I've met him, and his weird website is TOTALLY him. The "bad reviews" section struck me as a bit humorous self-deprecation, personally. I would absolutely never associate the word "megalomania" with him either.

October 3, 2007 at 12:34 PM · All Emilian tail-twisting aside, I listened to this cadenza again this morning. I love it. Yes, it's a bit like driving to your local 7-eleven for beer and coming back three weeks later after a trip to bosnia, but hey, what a trip!

October 3, 2007 at 12:43 PM · Mara, you're absolutely right about the Gypsy music vs. Bartok's Hungarian folk music. Sorry for not making any distinction. My point was just that I don't think that it is healthy to go around saying that our kind of music is morally superior(I choose that word carefully, as apparently mixing any kind of music with classical seems to be an execution worthy crime...) Bunches of composers used folk music to write their own music and to degrade fok music in general as morally or aesthetically optional because it was mixed with Mozart just, to quote Peter Griffin, ground my gears a little bit. Anyway, Emil is certainly entitled to his opinion, I'll just have to settle for not understanding it.

Also, Nate, Gilles does not take himself seriously. He knows what he is good at, and he's very self-deprecating and down to earth. He just approaches the world of the violin differently then anyone else, and he knows people will hate him for it. I think he relishes that in a way. Wow, if there is this much disgust with his Mozart, you should have heard his Largo from the C major!

One more thing, hi Jesse, and yes, this thread makes me sad too, and I was a part of it going down the drain. Sorry for that...

October 3, 2007 at 12:52 PM · Well, I don't think Emil's intent was to degrade folk music, but I suppose we should let him clarify that one.

"Driving to your local 7-11 for beer and coming back three weeks later after a trip to Bosnia"--best image EVER, I literally laughed out loud. Thanks for that. :)

October 3, 2007 at 06:17 PM · Ronald Your limericks are inspiring! I've got two for you. This is my first stab at it. I realize some of you have had a great deal of practice, so I apologize, in advance, for this novice attempt. I'm sure the rhyme scheme is completely wrong.

Buri began this illustrious thread

With a fair note of warning--

Dare you get up in the morning

To write on this thread

You'll wish you had gone back to bed!

Amidst the fur flinging and knocking about

One silent observer wears a grin

While others cry, scream and shout

Gilles Apap is doing something, no doubt

Smiling while playing violin.

Nate--I think you have a good point.

October 3, 2007 at 02:07 PM · i think emil is endowed with a sharp wit, strong opinion and exceptional articulation. that apparently is a double edged sword. he cuts to the flesh and bone but can be viewed as whatever adjectives you feel like. his position, let me qualify, his ACADEMIC position, can be interpreted on many levels. from the music perspective, it is highly educational to see the development of his position, his thoughts/standard on "taste". but if you insist on extrapolating to a personal/social level, you may find it offensive, because actually you find it offensive to your own interpretation of "taste" or even social justice:)

so, in a nutshell, people find emil's calling of apap's choice of performance distasteful distasteful. emil's academic position is being attacked with rules of social etiquettes, which sooner or late someone will find to be also ,,,distasteful. :):):)

apap's website has a section on so called "bad" reviews. what does that tell you?

1. he is truly "bad"?

2. he is good and therefore "bad"?

3. he is good and therefore "bad" and he could not care less about opinions about him and neither should you?

both apap and emil are hardcore. watchers with sensitive souls beware.

October 3, 2007 at 02:49 PM · I'm positive that Mozart would have absolutely loved it. In those days, there was so much less tradition to which to be hidebound.

October 3, 2007 at 07:00 PM · There is a very obvious rhythmic connection with all the ethnic diversions in the cadenza, and so Gilles wouldn't be over doing it if he played a bit more "out of tune" there where he get's into microtonal eastern stuff and perhaps digress a bit. Perhaps Mr. Gilles could demonstrate the ability to calmly do something what to many seem "ridiculous" even to a further state one day would Mr. Chudovsky and gang storm the stage and start shouting at him. Seeing Mr. Gilles wave the security guards off stage and continue to play his cadenza while remaining his calm self improvising to the raucaus shrieks Emil and gang are spewing in their demonstration of what bad taste is would further demonstrate the idea of calm in a storm.

In response to janet's post, I do have to say that although Mr Gilles takes the opportunity to display how his Stradivari violin can project on stage in the cadenza, I was a bit stunned to hear that the violin is more itself when it returns back to the subtleties of the concerto, but perhaps this is just part of the whole setup and an expression of what it was like for perhaps the first exploited soloist to be carted around like Petrouchka is by the puppet master at the fair (or "circus" even).

A soggetti: music can change all things.

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