On Watching A Disastrous Program
28 December 2016 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
I watched something pathetic this evening on CBS proving why Lincoln Center is the high cultural capital of America. The program was in progress when I tuned into it part way through, first catching the Kennedy Center's high tribute to Martha Argerich, who was present. It recounted her life and career as a pianist and had several performers play in tribute to her, including Itzhak Perlman (always a ham and now slipping) and Yefim Bronfman performing the third movement to Beethoven's Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 8, in G (the whole thing is just too much for Americans) and much better yet, then Yuja Wang playing a wonderful version of Piazzolla's Grand Tango on a Steinway Grande, with the high intelligence, musical sophistication and good taste for which she is internationally renowned.
From there, the program descended into a big screen presentation of the fictionalized life in Camelot of John F. Kennedy, with Cynthia Erivo concurrently singing "The Impossible Dream" from the Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha." Why is unclear, at least to me.
Then the program took a huge and drastic leap down musically with a tribute to the Eagles, who were there also, minus one, deceased. Those performing for them were the Kings of Leon doing "Take It Easy" and sundry other bands doing too much, including Juanes, Steve Vai and Steuart Smith howling "Hotel California."
I understand there was more before I tuned in that was also terrible, but the effect of what I observed was a wild leap off a musical cliff. The program I saw, if it can be called such, ended with a few of the various notables and celebrities present, who hummed and bobbed their heads through the "popular" portion of the program, shouting an angry, loud, hard rock tune out into the audience. One shaggy, white-haired gent in a tuxedo made a vivid impression on me, as he he angrily screamed out the lyrics to the point of salivating. The president and first lady looked restrained and pained. What a fucked up musical disaster.
It was a glaring lesson that, contrary to popular sentiment, all music, or what passes for it, is NOT created equal or even close to it. It also highlighted what a cultural and vacuous wasteland America has become in regard to its dominant musical dimension.