Pianist asks Google to take down negative review

Pianist asks Google to take down negative review


norman lebrecht

November 02, 2014

The Croatian pianist Dejan Lazic has asked Google to take down a 2010 Anne Midgette review in the Washington Post, claiming it has harmed its reputation by popping up first on all searches. Lazic, who is based in Europe, is applying to Google under the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ directive.

The review, as it happens, is neither vicious or unadmiring. Anne plainly states: ‘It’s not that Lazic isn’t sensitive – or profoundly gifted. The very first notes of Chopin’s Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante at the start of the program signalled that he can do anything he wants at the keyboard, detailing chords with a jeweler’s precision, then laying little curls of notes atop a cushion of sound like diamonds nestled on velvet. Again and again, throughout the afternoon, he showed what a range of colors he could get out of the instrument, switching from hard-edged percussiveness to creamy legato, crackling chords to a single thread of sound. The sheer technical ability was, at first, a delight.’

Until the magic wore off.

Mr Lazic may, by this application, have earned the right to be forgotten until he grows a thicker skin and receives better advice.


dejan lazic


  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Pathetic indeed especially after his Brahms recording received good reviews all over the board…

  • RW2013 says:

    And who is Anne Midgette? (and who cares?)

    • Mark Henriksen says:

      I can answer your first question (she is a reviewer for the Washington Post) but not the second.

    • Neil McGowan says:

      Midgette is an extremely poor critic. Her reviews often hang on whether she approves of the performer’s dress, or their nationality (and her presumptions).

      I’m surprised Lazic took such offence at what Midgette wrote [redacted: abuse].

      • Neil McGowan says:

        Abuse? Let the readers decide for themselves!!

        Here is Midgette attacking Valery Gergiev – on utterly non-musical grounds.


        Let readers judge for themselves whether this tirade has the slightest basis in musical criticism? Or whether it is just the ravings of a right-wing fanatic?

        Readers will note that the “interview with Zaccharia” which Midgette quotes from includes not a single word from Gergiev. Ever the sloppiest of poor journalists, Midgette quotes only the interviewer – and not the interviewee. SInce Gergiev’s words would have uttely slain Midgette’s argument!!!

        But I am grateful to Mr Lebrecht for bringing up the topic of Midgette. A discussion of this woman and her wretched personal attacks on musicians, under the guise of ‘criticism’, is long overdue.

        • cabbagejuice says:

          I read Midgette’s article before and didn’t find that she was a raving right-wing fanatic or condoned the behavior of any musician who may have been constrained for one reason or another not to get political. It was a general, and balanced article, in my opinion. She wrote:
          Indeed, the fable we’ve built up for ourselves about classical music’s goodness may hinder the dissemination of certain kinds of contemporary classical music. “If classical music, with its rules of tonality and harmony and its set, classical forms of concerto, symphony and quartet, is perceived, even unconsciously, as a moral entity, people may react negatively when music posing under the classical mantle doesn’t express the kind of ‘good’ they expect from it.”
          Somehow I remember reading a book that more or less sets out the same views.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Ironically, Mr. Lazic has had the effect of drawing our keen attention on an otherwise unread review, and now we can take a principled stand on free speech by boycotting his records and concerts.

    • Martin says:

      He doesn’t boycott the free speech, he’s simply asking google to remove a search result which contains his name. I have done the same. If people want to find new about me they can, by searching themselves and not having old news and single opinions popping up as no. 1 result.

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      Also known as the “Streisand Effect”.

  • Peter says:

    “I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me.”
    Max Reger

  • Brian says:

    And now the #1 search result for this guy will be “Dejan Lazic Asks Google to Remove Bad Review.”

    That and similar articles will contain large chunks of Anne’s (very fair) original review quoted wholesale to live on.

  • Julien says:

    Very interesting question.
    Anybody who makes a research in google has to realize that this company (and yahoo…) has the power to influence our way to make our opinion.
    Why this old review is in the very first positions ?
    Because for Google, the Washington Post is the most important media who made a review about Dejan Lazic. Dejan Lazic can’t ask to cancel a “negative review”, but I think more recent reviews (even of less important media) should be in 2014 before this article.
    The first choice of Google is criticable. People don’t make the effort to check several pages, and I understand that an artist doesn’t want to be embodied by one article.
    Twenty years ago, you had a bad review, and after it’s finished. Now, it can follow you all your life. It’s not healthy.

  • Bill says:

    I agree with this artist. There is no reason a review from 4 years ago should be coming up on the first page of a Google search. So if you have a bad day at work, would you want the whole world to know about it? 4 years later? What about 20 years from now? Get real, guys.

  • Graham Wallis says:

    Of course he should have it removed if he wants do. Four years is quite a bit of time, ten years – is it relevant in 25-30 years? Definately not. We have the right to be forgotten – easy as that.

  • cabbagejuice says:

    What’s that Piano Concerto No. 3 of Brahms, after the Violin Concerto, on the cover? Never heard of it.

  • Neil McGowan says:

    It’s tragic when alcoholism and career failure go hand in hand.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Funny how comments disappear…

  • JAMA11 says:

    I would be a lot more sympathetic to his cause if the critic had overheard him practicing in his den and wrote about it in a national newspaper.

    Unfortunately, he regularly performs in front of thousands of people. If he is this upset about bad reviews, maybe he needs to rethink his career choice. This is exactly NOT the situation to invoke some “right to be forgotten.” What’s next? Will Michael Bay demand that newspapers all hide their bad reviews of his movies? After all, we have a “right to be forgotten.”