Is Gilles Apap the real deal or a gimmick?
Miss Mussel is going to have to take the middle road and say a bit of both. She very much liked the idea of him and his ecumenical approach to high and low art but the reality was, admittedly, a tad irritating.
Remember the kid in high school who was so proud of his alternativeness (alternance?) that he made it a point whenever possible? And then how his earnestness negated any climbing in the coolness rankings that he had previously managed? That’s kind of what happened on Friday night.
The music was good, the orchestra was enjoying themselves and the audience loved it. What ground Miss Mussel’s gears was the constant mentioning of the fact that what was about to happen was different (with the implicated synonyms being more enlightened, right and better) to what the audience was expecting. Just play the music and let Miss Mussel decide if and how it was different to her expectations. This is something she does at every concert, or indeed every time she hears something.
We were treated to a slide show of snaps showing Apap balancing a bass on his head, his house in California, him with his fiddle teachers etc. Perhaps this was an attempt to get help the audience break down the fourth wall, as it were, and get to know the performer. Miss Mussel is still too young yet to be an official grumpy old crank, but this part of the show seemed rather pointless.
The video, in which M. Apap created a raga out of the Paris Métro chime, was relevant to the evening’s program and therefore interesting, so it’s not the interpolated multimedia that is the rub, just randomness, it seems.
Miss Mussel is a big fan of alternative approaches to presenting classical music. The Yellow Lounge and the upcoming NUMUS Revolutions are both brilliant ideas. It’s just that…well…acute self-consciousness/arrogance is awkward in any setting.
What do you think? Is Miss Mussel aging before her time or are her misgivings justified?
A review of the concert is available here.