Is it Art or is it Just Entertainment?

A friend posted a video on Facebook of four young women, slim, and attractive, dressed in black cocktail dresses and heels, and all obviously accomplished musicians, playing around with snippets of classical and popular tunes. The pianist played sitting down, lying down, and playing upside down. The 2 violinists and cello danced around playing off each other. It was a very short video … and it pissed me off.


My comments: it was

Johanna M Bolton Fine art descending into pure entertainment … designed for a population with neither the education nor the intelligence to appreciate it for what it really is. Pathetic. Yes, it makes me cranky. I loved PDQ Bach, but this is not the same. He at least came from an intellectual base. This is superficial … witness, exclusively attractive young female musicians in skimpy dresses — like that Celtic group that was so popular — and a mockery of the music. Boo.

My friend’s response: I think you may have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today, my dear friend! I can enjoy this as well as many other takes on classical music! You’re certainly entitled to your own opinion, and I love you anyway!

Johanna M Bolton Thank you, ******, for not giving up on your cranky friend. But it wasn’t just the response of me falling out of the wrong side of the bed, but the built in irritability of a performing musician facing audiences who come to be entertained rather than being able to appreciate what they hear. It’s the concept of applied entertainment without the necessity of any personal involvement by the audience, like a kind of pseudo-intellectual massage applied to the inhabitants of a media saturated world. (Try taking a cell phone away from a teenager! You’d think you’d amputated a limb.)

A friend came to a concert when I played with the symphony. Afterwards he commented: “You did a good job, but it was really boring. I almost fell asleep. You need some dancing girls or something.”

After we played a Christmas Concert: “Yeah, the music was nice, but you guys need to smile more. Why don’t you do something other than just sitting there?”

But we were doing something. We were playing music!

The modern member of Homo sapiens is a user rather than a creator.

I remember when we lived in Santa Fe 20 some years ago, that there were 2 large serious art & craft supply stores, places to buy all the materials and equipment necessary to make things. There were separate stores selling beads and jewelry makings. Other stores sold looms, spinning wheels, and a large variety of fibers from all over the world. Those stores are gone, have been replaced by boutiques where people can go and buy ready-made crafts. I attended a world fiber arts convention some years ago. I went with three other craftswomen, and we came home in a van crammed with looms, spinning wheels, fibers and yarn. I cannot begin to count the vendors there representing raw materials and tools. I attended the same convention probably fifteen years later. There were a handful of people there selling materials and supplies. The majority of the vendors, however, were offering clothing, jewelry, and other finished crafts. I was sadly disappointed.

What this points out is the evolution (de-evolution?) of a culture into one that uses things but does not make things. They derive satisfaction from externals, rather than applying values from inside themselves. It takes no effort to pick from the product that has already been created. It takes effort and courage to create something yourself.

I have been using something that is visual to describe the ability to appreciate music for what it is … tonal values, volume, and rhythm transmuted by a musician into something visceral, something intoxicating. Music is something your body absorbs like drinking an excellent vintage, and it can get you just as drunk on the intensity of its impact.

This video, these four women capering about, grimacing and leering while they play at their instruments is not music or anything to be appreciated any more than one would appreciate a loony-tunes cartoon. In fact, less than …

And then …

Johanna M Bolton Ah, here’s a response from one of the music sites that underlines my protest perfectly:

“I agree with @punk rock2000 insofar as he identifies the Group as Salut-Salon, 
….. and the chicks are called: 
(ⅰ) Angelika Bachmann (violin) …………………. [ hot babe ] ; 
(ⅱ) Iris Siegfried (violin and vocals) …………….. [ fit bird ] ; 
(ⅲ) Sonja Lena Schmid (cello) …………………… [ minger ] ; and 
(ⅳ) Anne-Monika von Twardowski (piano) [yowzer yowzer yowzer].”

Obviously the author is someone who appreciates classical music with a different portion of his anatomy.

A review: “The Salut Salon quartet – made up of Angelika Bachmann (violin), Iris Siegfried (violin and vocals), Anne-Monika von Twardowski (piano) and Sonja Lena Schmid (cello) – combine virtuosic chops with a comedy and charm to create a completely unconventional chamber music experience.

Playing upside down, behind the back and other crazy variations, what begins as traditional sounding classical music ends something closer to a …hoedown?

Performing 120 concerts a year, Salut Salon have appeared in cities all over the US, Europe, China and South America. And judging from the video below – they know how to win over a crowd.”

The German group, Salut Salon has several clones, other quartets of women in sexy dress playing musical instruments. These groups of sexy female musicians (a reaction to the trend for sexy? but grubby male musicians) seems to be a trend.

Anyway, you can find the video online … I’m tired of the subject and I’m off to find a group of older female musicians so I can start my own group in retaliation. I’ll post pictures.



art, music, writing, mountain dulcimer, bowed psaltery, old time music, early music, celtic music, ACDs, Australian Cattle Dogs, painting, science fiction books, ideas, feminism, crones

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