I am reminded of this because I just ran across a post on another blog about a similar project in visual arts: a Museum of Bad Art: MOBA! Go ahead and watch the video, it is quite interesting. Seeing how a piece of art can fail is a very interesting exercise in aesthetics. Now, can I come up with some musical examples? Here is something:
Lang Lang seems determined to be a classical pianist version of a pop musician so that explains the presentation. The playing is ok, but the piece itself is banal and trite, don't you think?
Now that is a great piece, the Italian Concerto by Bach. But the performance was marred by more than the excessive echo in the recording. This pianist doesn't actually seem to have time to allow for phrasing or even some of the details in the notes. He is going to get to the end no matter how many harmonies he has to brush by on the way. Being "frog-marched" though Bach is what I call this style of performance.
Next is a performance of a staple of the violin encore repertoire, the Meditation from "Thais" by Massenet whose excessive portamenti give it the feel of an ethnic joke:
Some pieces, harmless enough in themselves, tend to attract bad performances. Among these is the classical guitar piece known as the Spanish Romance. The composer is unknown. The first version here demonstrates the literal approach: no rhythms or tempi will be altered for the sake of musical expression. Instead, he is going to play it straight through, straight up:
This helps to set up my second example, which shows what happens when you try to play the Spanish Romance after listening to too much salsa music--you just can't help those little syncopations creeping in everywhere:
Perhaps my readers could contribute some of their favorite examples?