So I’m staying up late on a Sunday night looking at album covers of classical music recordings (don’t ask), and there’s something bothering me. Classical music is imposing enough; why does this image
make me want to listen to her recordings of Beethoven? Aside from the peculiar garb, the disconcertingly preoccupied gaze (I’m wary of subway riders who fixate on one object, real or imagined, and Uchida is looking directly at us), and the wild, perhaps unkempt hair, there’s the fact that she’s more or less covering her ears. The net result is that I associate Beethoven’s op. 109-111 with cacophony and mental discord.
But I feel kinda bad singling Uchida out; the classical music world is a kooky place, and maybe her agent/handlers/whatever aren’t the savviest of PR people. What about someone who was a bona fide star, someone who did so much for classical music that construction workers removed their hats as his funeral cortege passed? Someone in charge of a multi-million dollar operation? Someone famous for educating people about classical music, for bringing them closer to it?
Not so much:
Does Leonard Bernstein look like he…
A) Has heartburn.
B) is contemplating Man’s fate in world that for all we know is godless.
C) Has just been reminded, for the fifteenth goddam time tonight, despite the fact that he’s never forgotten before, that he needs to include the stub along with the rent check, or else they’ll have to pay a late fee.