Bach is off on the Great Wall of China

Bach is off on the Great Wall of China


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2017

Classical musicians do all sorts of things to grab a sliver of attention, but this violist’s attempt to play Bach on the Great Wall is wrong for all sorts of reasons.

First, the Great Wall is one of the wonders of the world. It does not need Bach.

Second, there is no artistic reason for playing there.

Third, you can’t hear much because of the howling wind.

Don’t watch here. 

photo: Classic FM


  • Anon says:

    It’s never wrong to play Bach.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It is just too bizar for words.

  • Thank god we don’t have “Bach get raped on the great wall of China” this time …

  • Bruce says:

    I see NL is in what I call “Grumpy Uncle” mode again.

  • Anon says:

    Classical music people can be so “the glass is half empty” stuck ups.
    He could have played hip hop on a ghetto blaster or Casio keyboard instead.
    Would that have been better?

    (yes the wind noise is ridiculous)

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    It must have been just after dawn, because there are no other tourists (or fun-seeking violists). Good luck to him now that he is famous.

  • Nick says:

    What’s wrong with music being mixed with the sound of nature?

    Here, don’t watch

    • John Borstlap says:

      Concert halls have been developed to shut-out distracting sounds from the outside world: the rattle of carriages, the hooting of trains, the screaming of vendors, sounds of rain and thunder, etc. Distracting sounds inside the hall by audiences are suppressed by respectful ritual, as to make the experience of music as best as possible. What is the point of including nature again in performances?

  • darren briggs says:

    Classical music conditions the atmosphere in which it is played. As a long time Hollywood Bowl employee let bear witness that the animals in the area, such as deer, skunks, racoons, never made an appearance on an evening in which rock was the dominant sound.

    So let the violin be the new symbol to overcome violence. Let be before every peaceful demonstration. Let it appeal to the better parts of men. Not one man on the great wall, but violinist before the white house, on the borders of Korea, and in the depressed areas of the word.

    The young man who played before the demonstrations in Venuezula and had his violin smashed shed tears as I did to show his misery. Classical musicians know the connection between beauty and spirit. Let us show that we too have political views that seek redress and music is our weapon, a weapon that does not harm but causes men to think for peaceful solutions.

    • darren briggs says:

      May the lowly violin with its sweet strains be before every peaceful demonstration, before the actions of every political dictator, before the oppressed who demand justice.

      I say not one violin but a thousand making a chorus to overwhelm violence.