Today in stereotypes

“whirling Turkish dervishes and fiery Hungarian gypsy music” – Brian Ferguson, The Scotsman.

Schiff plays [Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto] not only with beautifully rounded tone, full-bodied (not pearly or dewy — glittering rather than glistening), but with a Hungarian accent, his rhythmical inflections letting the music speak its native language.” – Lloyd Schwartz, The Phoenix.


3 thoughts on “Today in stereotypes

  1. Lloyd Schwartz is an moron. Clichés and stereotypes are pretty much all he knows. Be thankful if you’ve never had to listen to his ill-informed natterings read in his mewling, nasal voice on National Public Radio in the US.

  2. That said – I hear differences between Hungarian musicians and non-Hungarian musicians in Hungarian music. Try, say, Mihaly Szekeley and any non-Hungarian bass in Bluebeard’s Castle, or on the instrumental side, Zoltan Kocsis and Stephen Kovacevich in the Bartok piano concertos.

  3. Fair enough on the question of singers, Lisa – they do have an advantage on pronunciation. But what I get tired of is the fact that every Hungarian performer is de facto assumed to be better at playing Hungarian music, and that they all play it in this ‘fiery, rhythmic’ style. You could write half the review without having attended the concert. And this counts true across 50 years of Anglo-American criticism (I know, I’ve read a large chunk of it…).

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