Earlier this month Martin Kettle questioned the current state of the piano recital in the pages of The Guardian (Why are today’s concert pianists so boring?), and Susan Tomes responded in kind by suggesting that the modern music business is the cause of the pianists’ demise (The visonary thing).
It seems however, that this complaint is not new. Arts & Letters Daily has compiled a number of links to celebrate the work of Glenn Gould, who would have turned 70 today had he lived. Among them is an essay written in 1983 by Denis Dutton (The Ecstasy of Glenn Gould):
Though the world of music and art has always been thought to thrive on novelty, history teaches us that it often rejects the imaginatively new simply because it is too new. Examples are limitless, but I have in mind something that interested me back in the late 1950s. It was then common to complain that virtually all of the younger generation of pianists (and not only pianists) were musically indistinguishable from one another. All very fine technically, so the story went, but what of spirit? They all played "like machines," devoid of temperament, of individual personality.
It looks like we could do with another Glenn Gould.