Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zachary Woolfe Explains Yuja Wang's Dress

Here's how Zachary Woolfe explains the significance of Yuja Wang's short, tight dresses:
... the tiny dresses and spiky heels draw your focus to how petite Ms. Wang is, how stark the contrast between her body and the forcefulness she achieves at her instrument. That contrast creates drama. It turns a recital into a performance.
I appreciate that Woolfe doesn't revert to gape mouthed aawking, but doesn't ignore the issue either. His is as good an interpretation of how Wang's dress affects a listener as any I've seen. (Another worthy read on how critics address the dress is here, by Anne Midgette.) That said, there still is something lascivious about the whole affair, particularly after reading the "so short, so tight" comments made by other middle-age male critics.

Onto another issue: someone needs to get Woolfe to lay off the purple prose. Check this out, from the same review:
The liquidity of her phrasing in the second movement of Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2 eerily evoked the sound of woodwinds. In that composer’s Sonata No. 6 she juxtaposed colors granitic and gauzy to eerily brilliant effect before closing the written program with a rabid rendition of the one-piano version of “La Valse,” accentuating the sickliness of Ravel’s distorted waltzes.
Holy cow!