Violin Hating: Nerd Fight

Posted by @ 8:06 am on May 21st, 2010

A few months ago, I was on this really big nerdy Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto kick, and I listened to more versions of the piece than I’m comfortable mentioning, usually one after another like crack. Somewhere along the way, I found out about the Tchaikovsky Competition, which led me to a goldmine of translations of the concerto. Well, you know YouTube works, and one click led to another, until I’d watched all the finalists for the competition during its various stages.

A few years ago, Mayuko Kamio won. Here is an excerpt of one of the stages of the competition. It would seem as though everyone had to play Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy, which I don’t particularly care for, I much prefer Sarasate’s version, but whatever.

Her interpretation of Waxman is problematic, sure. Think what you will about her playing, what I care about most is how people responded in the comments section. They’re brutal. Most of them seem to have a working knowledge about music, though they’re probably not actually musicians. Many of them are racist. At least no one was blatantly sexist.

Here’s a little taste of some of the saucier things exchanged:

ghettowizard: well, it IS a Japan-sponsored competition, so her being Japanese didn’t hurt. but the Thaik competition is crooked beyond belief anyway.

unicornstars: that was awful. she just ripped through the whole thing like it was something she had to conquer. no musicality whatsoever. she won..??

cromulentinnoc3nce: 0:32 almost made me gag.

nilssche: my god, she plays like a machine, very boring…

dkurgano :its pretty boring…not as clean as some other performances on youtube either. cant believe she got 1st in tchaik.

cgd147: hehehe chinese! ending….? 95% out of tune???!!!

calloffthedogs: god awful. she shouldnt have made the top 10 in the Tchaikovsky. Zachar Bron rigged the competition. pathetic.

moonkasnow: yes she won, and everybody knows that, except her teacher (zakhar bron) that was part of the jury in this competition.

issavestheworld : Ridiculous intonation. How CAN someone possibly play THAT in-tune?

But on the other hand, I find lack of musicality in her playing….

moonkasnow : haha and the worse of all this is that she won this competition haha

amati147 : Why so fast? THE fastest ending of all time. It didn’t impress me. I don’t like this playing, scratchy. 1.42- 1.45 uh!

penguinshin : whos the accopmianmist, shes really good, to be able to keep up with that unexpected and immature tempo!

leopianotuner: the playing is too tense and serious, tone too harsh, no sense of musical bon vivant, no sense of dance. She has some technique but plays like just another amateur, .

felixjkz: you’re just a Nazi. Every Armenian is better for you than everyone else.

Jan2ek: Such scrapping and slashing about !!!!! too painful to hear – she must learn to make music

crazyninjaful: Umm…do these people actually LISTEN to what they are playing? Competition winner or not, it sounds like she is sawing a house in half or something.

Not interested in perfect saw technique.

fishpig20 : 

0:32 is funny

honkeydonkeyponkey : that wasn’t even music. there was no point in that performance. horrendous.

Reading all this makes me wonder: What is it about the internet that makes people so angry? She’s just a 20-year-old violinist. Why get so pissed? Why hurl such personal assaults? It’s not like any of these people were actually affected by Kamio winning the competition, nor were their lives worsened in any way by this one particular performance. And yet, their panties are all in a tizzy. Furthermore, what is it about the internet that makes everyone an expert? I didn’t put in all the comments about Heifetz, but people kept comparing her to Heifetz, as if a comparison could even be fair for any number of reasons. (They also assumed that Heifetz should be the “gold standard” for all music, just listen to his version of Tchaik to see why he shouldn’t be, esp. in comparison to someone like David Oistrakh, who I’d marry in an instant, if I weren’t already married and he wasn’t dead.) People comment like they have intimate knowledge of the music, the score, like they’ve played it, been the soloist, and I’d wager of all these assholes, maybe one or two of them have actually played the piece, much less with an orchestra as the soloist. I’m just saying.

Reading those comments, I wanted to find Kamio and give her a hug. Whereas I understand participating in the Tchaikovsky Competition makes her a “public figure” and she should be ready for criticism, I really wonder what it is that allows these people such bravada to say anything and everything with such great expertise, regardless of how transparently stupid they are, especially when discussing something as harmless as some girl’s interpretation of Waxman’s Carmen.

As an added bonus, here’s her actually playing Tchaik. It’s very good. Worth a listen:

And for the record, one of the comments reads: “A typical pedantic interpretation by an oriental violinist - their mannerisms are just as predictable as their phrasing….”

Fucking stupid fuckers. Or maybe I’m just defending my fellow “oriental violinist” sister, since we all must be related. Ok, I’m done.