“Filthy Gorgeous!”

As a followup to the post in which I suggested that (the Sarah Chang video of) “The Four Seasons” is Kitsch, let me post a response to that piece of music by the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, a tribute I believe he wrote in order to bring out the true essence and finest qualities of Vivaldi’s timeless masterpiece. Please, have a listen.

What do you suppose Schnittke is trying to say about Vivaldi. Is this truly a tribute? If so, why? And if not, why not? Does Schittke believe Vivaldi is Kitsch? If so, why? And if not, why not? Is Schnittke’s own piece Kitsch? If so, why? And if not, why not? Is there perhaps some other term we could use to denominate either of these pieces?

If nothing else, upon this much at least I hope we can all agree, that the lower-budget video is far less wretched than the high-tech studio production in which the lovely Sarah Chang blabs her head off. With her reputation for wearing only gorgeous designer gowns, and the fact that regularly blogging and making celebrity appearances has been a major component of touring for her, Chang really has attempted to style herself not so much as a violin virtuoso so much as a violin diva. Call it “promotion and development” or “advocacy” all you want. It’s abundantly apparent to me that the Chang/Orpheus Chamber Orchestra “Four Seasons” project was conceived to do one thing and one thing only: sell Vivaldi and make money. I mean, honestly, when you listen to “Winter”, what do you really picture blowing in the wind, leaves or $100 bills?

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