Monday, May 05, 2008

I'd hate to have an interview like this!

Interviews in music magazines and newspapers are usually sympathetic jobs, with the interviewer carefully helping the interviewee to appear as sympathetic as possible, take a great interest in their lives and career so far, and (not least!) to place their most recent CDs. See an interview of a classical musician (or almost any news story - remember the guy who broke his Strad?)? You can bet your bottom dollar that a CD or book is coming out.

In the May Fonoforum the journalist Kai Luehrs-Kaiser takes the brutal 'I will say the truth' approach when interviewing Danielle de Niese, who Jessica had also interviewed a little while ago, rather more sympathetically, though a bit gossip columnly. Mr Luehrs-Kaiser takes the clinical approach, using a sharp scalpel. His article is headlined 'Brilliant shooting star'. You know what happens to shooting stars? They fade very quickly.

He goes on to describe her as the 'most appetizing new entry' to the Decca catalogue, explains that a mole on her nose is only seen on 2 out of 10 of their publicity stills, comments on her 'Betthupferl-Image' (someone who jumps from bed to bed), though he does also allow her to have a brain. He describes her website which he says almost invites the user to virtually run their hands over her body. Finally he comments on her CD which shows, he says, that her voice is not perfect yet, that she cheats on trills and that there's a difference between her singing registers, that her range of expression is limited emotionally and stylistically, and that her highest notes sound shrill. But I suppose he still enjoyed his interview with a bit of 'eye-candy' - and it's unusual for a Fonoforum journalist to make a journey all the way to Berlin (4 hours on the train) to interview someone.

This edition of FF also mentions that this year Anne-Sophie Mutter won the Siemens Musikpreis (200,000 Euros), half of which will go to her foundation. Former winners included Barenboim, Brendel, Kremer, Rostropovich. My musik teacher's son, Enno Poppe, won the composer's version of this 4 years ago. And my favourite young viola player, Antoine Tamestit, has won the 75,000 CHF Credit Suisse Young Artist Award. I'm told that Antoine now has a professorship at the Cologne Musikhochschule. And he's not even 30!

The magazine also contains a prospectus for the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, with many well-known musicians including Bashmet (though I heard him play the Paganini a-minor concertino in Russia; it suited his style of playing - slow, not virtuosic), Cecilia Bartoli, young Chloe Hanslip, Vytis Sakuras (a Lithuanian who I had not come across before, but I'm not that much into pianists), Gergiev and his LSO doing Tchaikovsky (there was a moment when I wondered whether Gergiev ever conducts something outside the Russian repertoire, but I think I heard that he did the German repertoire - Brahms 1 and 3 - recently), also Khatia Buniatishvili, the young Georgian pianist, who will also in 'Chamber music connects the world' in Kronberg. Looks like her career is set, with connections like these. (She recently won 3rd prize in the Rubinstein Competition in Israel, but is reported to have been the audience's favourite). This will be some star-studded festival!