FROM tomorrow, regular readers of The Scotsman will notice some major changes to our classical music coverage. Rather than focusing all their attention on the musical content of the events they attend, our critics will now be required to spend at least 50 per cent of their reviews talking about the physical appearance of the performers.
To reflect this change, classical music reviews will now carry two star ratings – one for musical content and one for the attractiveness (or otherwise) of the players.
We do not make these changes lightly – The Scotsman has a long and proud history of serious classical music criticism – but given the events of the last few days, we feel we can no longer continue to carry “music-centric” music reviews. Last week, the Sun newspaper ran an interview with Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti.
So groundbreaking was this piece that, at a stroke, it completely transformed the landscape of classical music writing in this country. Rather than focusing on Benedetti’s music career, as countless other interviewers had done before him, the Sun writer instead chose to concentrate on her physical appearance – ushering in an age of what industry experts have described as “appearance-based criticism”.
Ingeniously, the Sun story described Benedetti as “fit as a fiddle” (“fiddle” is another word for a violin) and expressed regret that “she won’t be posing for the lads’ mags any time soon”.
And the penetrating insights didn’t end there. Displaying breathtaking analytical prowess, the Sun writer also observed: “Nicola doesn’t always take the bonniest photo – she’s beaky in pics sometimes, which is weird because in the flesh she’s an absolute knock-out.”
Clearly this will be new territory for The Scotsman’s classical music critics. Few have received any training in appearance-based criticism, so for the next few months we will be enrolling them one by one in an intensive beauty therapy course at one of Scotland’s leading colleges.
The hope is that, following these courses, they too will be able to pepper their writing with comments like “Nicola is busty with a washboard flat tummy”.
Tonight’s International Festival shows will be the first to be reviewed in the new style. They are the Scottish Opera double bill, In The Locked Room and Ghost Patrol, and the Philharmonia Orchestra’s performance of Unsuk Chin’s Violin Concerto. Violinist Viviane Hagner, soloist in the Unsuk Chin Concerto, is said to be “well foxy”, but will she receive a five-star appearance score from our critic?
Watch this space.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east