Sunday, September 3, 2017

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Every now and then I have to do a controversial post, just to provoke some comments. I think the majority of my posts these days are pretty serious ones about Stravinsky or aesthetics, but I have to mix in more current ones because those seem to be the ones people like to comment on. So here I go, into the mouth of the lion (or should that be the cave of the bear?). I just ran across this little item over at The Guardian: Pianist Ludovico Einaudi’s haunting iceberg performance to draw attention to Arctic plight. It is just a short video and you don't even have to follow the link as it is on YouTube:


Just about everything about this is fake. First of all they just decked out a barge with white and stuck a piano on it. They mixed in the amplified sound of ice falling. The environmental claim is that the Arctic ice is disappearing. In fact, not too long ago people were claiming that by now there would be a permanent passage through the Arctic year-round. If you do an internet search you will encounter hundreds and hundreds of articles stating that climate change is affecting the Arctic in important ways. You have to dig around a bit, but the reality seems to be that the amount of Arctic sea ice has remained very stable over the last decade at least. The public seems to be seeing through the hysteria as the percent that report that they believe that climate change is an important issue seems to fall lower and lower every year. This is despite a constant hectoring campaign supported by government and media going back decades.

Oh, and the music? Good grief, if I thought that this was all you needed to do to be a famous musician, I think I would have gone into carpentry or small appliance repair instead. Dreary tinkling over a hackneyed chord progression for a couple of minutes? Mind you, this is exactly the kind of music you would expect to find in a context that is primarily ideological.

As Brahms said once on leaving a party, "If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon." So please weigh in in the comments about my grievous errors!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dreadful music.

On global warming, you're Canadian! I believe all Canadians crying crocodile tears over global warming are secretly waiting for it to happen. Not a minute too soon I hear them mutter to themselves. And who can blame them? If I had to live in Edmonton I'd be praying for global warming!

Bryan Townsend said...

You bet! Yes, global warming would certainly improve the Canadian climate. I'm always amazed when people talk about the "fragile" Arctic. It is a brutal and unforgiving environment and it is we who are fragile!

Steven said...

Totally circumventing the controversial stuff, I have a technical question: wouldn't even a piano go out of tune in those temperatures? Not to mention other problems...

Bryan Townsend said...

I have rather the suspicion that this might have been finger-synched as trying to play the piano in sub-zero temperatures is not at all pleasant! And yes, keeping the piano in tune would also be a trial. Once I gave as a gift to my mother, an old-time fiddler, a fancy set of violin strings with a gut core. She said that every time she walked onstage from backstage, a few degrees lower in temperature, they went out of tune! She went back to her old steel-core strings.

Marc Puckett said...

"Absolutely beautiful, but very depressing. I hope the petition gets enough names in order to save the Arctic." That'll do it, sure; and that one 'for peace, love, and understanding' (am I remembering that line from a pop song correctly?) will do the trick, too.

Bryan Townsend said...

Heh, heh, heh! I have the feeling that the icy Arctic will be there long after humanity is gone.

Will Wilkin said...

Since you mentioned you are here seeking a high comment count, I'm just here to do my part to help. But since I'm here, I'll also say I noticed in a recent post that you are now composing more music for guitar and violin and I hope you will produce a lot of it. The 4 Pieces that I know are gorgeous! I've shown them to a few people, always well-received.

Jives said...

yeah, I was wondering the same thing about the piano. Also, why can't we see his breath? Also a weird disconnect between his expression of something deeply felt, with perhaps the most tepid, unfeeling music I have ever heard.

Bryan Townsend said...

Yes, Will, partly inspired by you and by the fact that my violinist is in town right now, I am writing a new piece for violin and guitar. I will let you know how it's going!

Good point, Jives. Usually when you are surrounded by icebergs your breath will show. That's very odd. But would they actually have the nerve to do a greenscreen special effect?