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Monday, June 24, 2013

Simon Sweetman reviews Richard Clayderman

In his DomPost review, Simon Sweetman emphasizes that the world-ranking pops-pianist got an empty hall

French pianist Richard Clayderman sold millions of records by combining easy listening pop melodies and trace-around classical playing, he says (enviously?).

In fact, he has sold so many albums he has been deemed the world's most successful pianist by the never-discerning Guinness World Records. ("Never discerning? Oh dear!)

It's a very small audience to greet Clayderman - embarrassing, in fact. The Michael Fowler Centre hall is almost echoing with the emptiness, just the handful of front rows full, two-thirds of the auditorium offering a silence that should speak louder than any other form of criticism. This concert could have been held in the foyer.

For heaven's sake, the concert (Friday 21 June) was the second night of Wellington's biggest storm since the Wahine disaster.  It hit like a freight train at 5 pm on the Thursday, and it was almost impossible to get outside until the Sunday morning.

All of Wellington was cowering under gale-force blasts and torrential rain.  And the blue-rinse audience that would have gladly attended this concert was particularly prone to stay at home.

And this reviewer was surprised that the hall was empty?

Methinks he had an axe to grind...


Michael said...

With all due respect, you're overstating how housebound the world was. As awful as the weather was, plenty of people were still out and about that day. I certainly was in the afternoon - at a place just around the waterfront from where this show was in fact - and can't for a second imagine I wouldn't have gone to a concert I had tickets for. Now, it would have impacted on 'walk up' sales for sure, but those are never the majority of attendees at a show such as this.

And whatever reason a show is empty, the emptiness can definitely impact on the atmosphere, so it is relevant to note in a review.

Really though, paying good money to see someone play to a backing track would disappoint me more than the crowd.

Joan Druett said...

Hey there, thanks for posting. Playing to a backing track is certainly disappointing. But was that mentioned in the review?

mr jolly said...

From the review: - "The piano and strings fight for space around the clatter of pre-recorded horns, synthesisers, tinny keyboard drums and other church-service arrangements that evoke plastic flowers, smoke-tainted doilies and soft-porn record covers.

Clayderman isn't even the main act to begin with - the first few numbers so strongly feature the backing tapes."

Joan Druett said...

When I hit the link embedded in the top of the post, I did get the part you quote. But I don't remember reading it before, and I feel as if I would have posted the whole review if I did, as it is quotable. It's a long time ago, but what I suspect happened is that some subbie shortened the review for publication, and I transcribed what I read in the paper. On the website, however, the entire review was printed. Very odd.

Thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

Had the misfortune to book tickets for concert in Dublin Ireland September 2017 , nothing has changed , I could not believe that the main man was in effect a side show playing along to backing tracks insulting to both the audience and I am sure the mans capabilities. Would that his musical director would wake up and let us hear Richard himself I went with high expectations to see a guy who in fairness has had a lot of success but never left a gig so disappointed and would certainly not return or recommend that anyone waste their precious time on a show like this. We had local string section supporting Richard that may as well not have been there as the backing track was so loud also he had barely time to enjoy the applause when the next track would kick off forcing him awkwardly to get busy playing along , very little time for him to interact with the audience or be spontaneous . Really painful to witness 3 hours of my life that I will never get back .