2007-06-18

Eine kleine Schreckmusik

I get a little bored hearing the world's greatest music played flawlessly by world-class musicians each week. All that perfection makes me restless.

So, permit me to sing (off-key) in praise of bad musicians. But not just those unable to hit the notes. This is a special type of bad. Let's hear it for artists with tin ears who've proudly lowered the bar of musical performance.

Thus confesses Marc Shulgold, music critic for the Rocky Mountain News (USA). His candor launches an engaging survey of a specialized taste (as it were) among music lovers. The genre is is not to be confused with simple lack of ability, or with the kind of cringe material encountered in crossovers. As Shulgold explains:
Anyone can pick up an instrument they've never clutched and elicit dreadful sounds from it. [...] But being adorably atrocious is tricky - it demands an earnest striving to hit all the notes, but with results that must border on the amusing without being dull or overly painful.
Tune in (but not too precisely) for a primer on the artists who have made the genre what it is. Not to be missed is Shulgold's consideration of American soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, a diva who is to the history of song what director Ed Wood is to cinema.

Shulgold's 'Best of the Worst':
Florence Foster Jenkins
The Really Terrible Orchestra
Portsmouth Sinfonia
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards
Elva Miller

(Warning: some sites provide audio.)
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