‘Menuhin had an almost entirely negative influence’main
In a Commentary essay on child prodigies, the critic Terry Teachout lays blame for cultural degeneration on Yehudi and his parents:
Some contemporary prodigies, Kissin in particular, are indisputably major talents, while others, like the English soprano Charlotte Church, have no business performing in public. But none of them should ever have been subjected to the stresses of a modern, media-driven musical career at such young ages. Virtually every classical musician who has been allowed to perform professionally as a child (other than on isolated occasions) has experienced crippling psychological trauma as a result, and very few have been able to sustain major careers upon reaching adulthood.
In this respect, Menuhin has had an almost entirely negative influence on the culture of classical music, for he was the first child prodigy to live out his whole life as a media figure. He became the model for all who followed him, driving down the age at which one could qualify as a genuine prodigy. Without his phenomenal example, there might be no Sarah Changs—or Charlotte Churches. One can only hope they will escape the unhappy trajectory of his later career….
Read on here.
I find this a bit harsh. Those of us who knew the man might add a few nuances.