The week’s worst soloist tantrum

The week’s worst soloist tantrum


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2015

This comes to you from the heat-seeking Taiwan/Australian violinist, Ray Chen.

Click here (it’s the second post down). Like, who takes a banana to rehearsal?

ray chen2



  • Anon says:

    Brilliant as usualy, Ray Chen

    Actually the banana is a very realistic touch. Everyone brings bananas these days, esp. to performances. It’s a natural way of keeping stress in check. Like beta blockers but healthy. The potassium or something, It’s an X generation thing. It’s really really common.

  • May says:

    I was hoping the video would show him throwing a fit at Eschenbach, but I was sorely disappointed…

  • Milka says:

    He has a great talent for self promotion ,too bad it doesn’t extend to the playing .
    Shrunken violin speaks volumes as to artistry.

    • SDReader says:

      I will hear him next month for the first time. What is wrong with his work exactly (assuming you are not just trolling again)?

      • Sanmarco says:

        He played Bach’s E major Partita on an Australian tour last November and it was superb playing; artistry of the highest order.

  • Ivor Morgan says:

    I think the week’s worst soloist tantrum was from Ivo Pogorelich who made the rash act of actually trying to perform in public. You name it, the Guardian, Telegraph, Financial Time, Standard said it was the worst performance in living memory. A whole concert of blockbusters – Dante Sonata, Schumann Fantasy, Brahms variations and Petrouchka

    Banana antics seems pleasantly trivial in comparison.

    • SDReader says:

      Andrew Clements in the Guardian hurls insults but attaches none of them to any of the pieces being discussed, and he takes four paragraphs.

      Consequently I got nothing from his review, although I will be hearing the recital myself in Germany next month.

    • Hilary says:

      and what did you think of the concert Ivor Morgan? For what it’s worth, the critical response was more varied than you suggest. Even Clements begrudgingly admits the Brahms Pagannini Variations were on another level than the rest of the recital. Here, I felt I was listening to the younger Pogorelich when he benefited from being mentored by his wife. There’s a lovely account of this magical performance in the Times. Elsewhere, I was struck by how rhythmically wayward the playing was, and uncouth sound when above mezzo forte. Strangely compelling though. There’s something of James Rhodes about Pogorelich, albeit with a substantially larger technical resource to draw upon.

  • Milka says:

    I never troll ….I make biased observations which are as fleeting as most observations are, whether being mine or another’s .

    Having heard him, my own opinion of his playing is such that being invited
    to hear him again I declined . I find his playing to be run of the mill boring .He does seem to spend an inordinate amount of time “smoozing ” with his audience to gain their approval
    and build up a following, a sort of later day Liberace of the fiddle.It is grating .One cannot
    but think if he spent all that time at study he could become a good fiddler and win us over
    with his playing rather than some specious personal charm . To me being compared
    to Vengerov is as bad a review as one could get-others would exalt the comparison.

    • SDReader says:

      Fair enough, but I’ll keep an open mind until I hear him.

      Separately, you sort of lost me with the Vengerov comparison.

      • Milka says:

        Having been brought up with great violinists for me Vengerov doesn’t fit the bill.
        He has a suitable technique but it seems to me musically the brain is very rarely engaged.
        You may like Chen and it is only correct that one hears for ones self .