You get what you pay for (or not)

Years ago, I got ferocious reader backlash after observing in a review of a recital by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax that the audience seemed more enthusiastic about being in the same room as the artists than intent on hearing the Brahms sonatas they were playing.

Robert Battey may be in for the same kind of feedback after his review for The Washington Post of Ma, Ax and violinist Leonidas Kavakos, playing trios of Schubert and Brahms at the Kennedy Center, especially as Battey compared their performance unfavorably with that of the far less well-known Vienna Piano Trio, playing Brahms, Haydn and Schoenberg at the Library of Congress:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/glamour-trio-ax-kavakos-and-yo-yo-ma-produce-thunder-at-kennedy-center/2018/02/25/7fc68c16-1a4f-11e8-9de1-147dd2df3829_story.html

There are fans and there are listeners, and while there is some overlap, those constituencies and their motivations are quite distinct. So, in these cases, were their investments: The Ma-Kavakos-Ax concert commanded ticket prices of $75 to $300; tickets for Library of Congress concerts are rather laborious to acquire, but free if you can get them.

Reviewers generally get complimentary tickets. Battey’s readers paid, either with money or with time and effort. In DC over the weekend, it appears that time and effort trumped money, at least for listeners.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s