This reminds me of a telephone call I received once from someone seeking guitar lessons. He stated that his fondest desire was to play really fast scales, to which I replied "why"? The conversation went downhill from there as it turned out that his favorite genre was 'death-metal' and I said I doubted I could help him. One thing I said that turned him off was that fast scales are just about the most boring thing in music. OK, let's listen to some more of David Garrett. Here he is playing the Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3 by J. S. Bach:
He doesn't just play the classics, of course. He also plays a little Metallica:
Should we hear one more, just to get the full picture? I can't quite bear to either listen to or post his mugging of Beethoven, so let's hear the inevitable "Kashmir", originally by Led Zeppelin:
David Garrett seems the ideal crossover artist: he is male-model good-looking, he has tremendous facility and he plays all the usual war-horses, including the new warhorses by Metallica and Led Zeppelin. But he also has that other necessity for real commercial success: no musical expression. I talked about musical expression in this post. There is a lot of music that has a purely utilitarian purpose such as work songs, communal music of various kinds, pure dance music and so on. But most of the music we listen to for aesthetic pleasure involves some kind of individual or group human expression. As Beethoven inscribed on a manuscript of his "Missa Solemnis", "from the heart -- may it go to the heart". Even a halting performance by an inexpert amateur can be genuine human expression. Sometimes, however, in the professional world of music, we hear expression being either neglected or faked. I think that is what is happening with David Garrett. To anyone who actually likes Bach, his Bach is agonizing. The Air played too fast with rock drums? Beethoven put through a blender? On the other hand, Metallica with tender expression? This is fakery and tricks. David Garrett is a male version of Vanessa Mae:
A long time ago a friend and I attended a concert by another crossover artist, a young female cellist who specialized in orgasmic expressions. As we were leaving we ran into another friend, a truly great violinist and we said something critical about the concert. He replied, and you have to imagine this with a Czech accent: "you were expecting maybe Rostropovich"?
There is musical expression and there is something else we might call 'anti-musical' expression--a performance that may amuse or something, but is the very antithesis of real human musical expression. As long as you aren't expecting the real thing. Speaking of: