Moonlight Sonata, on cello, underwater

Moonlight Sonata, on cello, underwater


norman lebrecht

July 23, 2021

You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Tina Guo, 35, is a Chinese-American cellist and erhu player from Shanghai.


  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    Bravo, Tina, from your old teacher.

    • Dimsky says:

      Good on ya, Nathaniel, for showing support to a former student. She’s making a (probably decent) living playing the cello. That is no small accomplishment (on land or water) in today’s music business.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s making use of the recent local flooding, which is expected to become a structural environment feature. She wants to positively engage with Nature.

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    I doubt the target audience would know:
    1) She’s actually miming to a studio recording
    2) The cello she’s playing is not actually that loud
    3) The accompaniment is digital
    4) Faces don’t make music
    5) She didn’t really write this…’song.’

    And there you have it. She’s not competing with Rostropovich, Natalie Clein, or Yo-Yo Ma; she’s building her own audience, in 2021.

    Hilary has her CSO baby concert series, Tina has her music videos, and Martha Argerich is performing like it’s 2019.

    “When seashells tell a story, we listen. When ‘she-sells’ tells a story, we listen. When she sells seashells, we shall see.”

    • JB says:

      In fact, who is the target audience for this ? I cannot imagine anybody.

    • Marfisa says:

      Points 1, 2, 3 and 5.
      Random YouTube comments:
      ” I love how you play the classics, they have the strength of the original, but you blow new life into them with your own versions.”
      “Beethoven would be amazed at your playing!”
      “I gotta say this, but a legendary piece is always underrated, c’mon why?”
      “Who played the keys and bass on this track? Mazzaro? Or you also created the backing track?” Ans. “Steve [Mazzaro] and I programmed the synths for this track”.
      “One thing I did notice is that the music and video was quite out-of-sync throughout.”

      People who watch music videos are more sophisticated than you might suppose, and understand very well how (and why) they are made. Comments like yours explain why there is a belief that classical music is elitist.

  • Nick says:

    One more Lola!!!! And all idiocy that accompanies it!

    • Roger says:

      It’s like they are on a mission to “out slut” each other.

      The problem with women who are over the top and go to extremes: They have nothing left to give.

  • steveb says:

    I hope they got the alien parasite off her head. I’d also like to know where I can get my wife a waterproof cello for our camping holidays.

  • Daphnis says:

    Oh, come on, Norman, would you have posted this if it had featured a male cellist attempting to fake his way through syncing very poorly to a separately recorded sound track? Does this enable intelligent discussion about music, or only about flimsy see-through clothing that reveals breasts swaying in the water and orgasmic female facial expressions?

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Simply offensive.

  • Judge Judy says:

    I can only imagine it would sound even better if she was playing under actual water, perhaps the mariana trench.

  • FrankInUsa says:

    I advocate for change. But this is in poor taste and has no artistic value.

  • Harpist says:

    All for clicks. Idiocracy rules.
    And playing is also not good, quite off tune occasionally.

  • Peter S says:

    All a bit too cheep and contrived for my taste. But others might like it, and she’s not stopping others expressing themselves musically, so what’s the harm in this ?
    Good luck to her in her exploration of music performance that makes sense to her.

  • Anthony Sanderson says:

    She seems to have been chosen by Hans Zimmer to play alongside him in Prague in this performance of Chevaliers de Sangreal from the The Da Vinci Code along with Rusanda Panfili.

    Obviously Hans immer has an eye for talent.

  • Marfisa says:

    a) She chose the right tempo – not the dirge speed that most pianists adopt, misled by Moscheles’ metronome marking. (Beethoven’s MS [thanks IMSLP] makes his intentions clear.)
    b) What is wrong with adaptations of classic pieces of music to different instrumental combinations? I thought this worked quite well.
    c) The video intelligently picks up the ‘ripples on a lake in moonlight’ imagery of Ludwig Rellstab.
    d) She is a good cellist.
    e) She looks good (but is too obviously glamorous for Puritan tastes.)
    f) The video would have benefited from being a bit less fussy.
    g) It has had over 47,000 views since 9 July, so there is a target audience out there, probably a younger and more open-minded one.