Then I was reading Sviatoslav Richter's memoirs this morning and was noticing the enormous shift from the kind of simple self-deprecating honesty that he exhibits to the self-serving promotion and marketing that seems obligatory in all performers today. Here let me quote some passages (all taken from Bruno Monsaingeon's book Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations):
I remember that on 27 June  ... I'd for once in my life given a really good performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, at Dzintari, near Riga, on the Baltic.
It was [in Prague] that I first heard Václav Talich, one of the greatest conductors I've ever worked with, even if our recording of Bach's D minor Concerto is unfortunately not very good.
I gave my first recital at Plzen. It wasn't a success, no doubt because I was from Russia. Also, I had to play in factories.
Recordings have always been a problem for me. I don't like them, especially my own.
Glenn Gould came in 1957. I attended one of his concerts. He gave a stunning performance of the Goldberg Variations, but without the repeats, which took away some of my pleasure. I've always thought one should boo musicians--and there are lots of them--who ignore the composer's instructions and omit the repeats.
I was terribly nervous during this first American tour and in a state of almost permanent panic ... I was unhappy with my performance. Bunches of wrong notes!
There was also the recording of Brahms's Second Concerto with Erich Leinsdorf, one of my worst records, even though people still praise it to the skies. I can't bear it. I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to it in an attempt to find anything good in it. Each time I'm appalled. Tam, param, taram, param. A Tempo di allegretto, you bet! Leinsdorf took it as an allegro, constantly pressing ahead.He goes on to say that the exorbitant praise showered on him ruins the relationship with the public because it tells them what to expect. Very tellingly he says:
What's the point of watching a pianist's hands or face, when they really only express the effort being expended on the piece?Instead of the actual musical content, of course. Nowadays it seems that watching and appreciating the effort being expended is the whole point. And the attention isn't always focussed on the hands or face, either!
The situation today is that frank discussion from performers is largely prohibited in the interests of marketing. Performers are trained, like so many seals, to say the same 100% positive self-serving things in every interview:
I'm reminded of that bit in Bull Durham where Crash tells Nuke how to do an interview:
Let's end with part of one of those terrible performances in that first American tour in 1960 with, as Richter says, bunches of wrong notes:
Ok, I heard a couple of wrong ones. And a lot of great musical expression.