While some classical critics ponder the growing trend of "crossover" artists becoming the ones who are selling classical music these days, murmuring sadly not all comes from young students being inspired at Tanglewood. There are "crossover" critics, too, because every one who talks about music can be regarded as a music critic. Just as I have a hard time swallowing the stuffy attitudes of some classical music buffs, I sometimes dislike hearing other people go gushy over it. The last person I heard ... not coo, but over-emote ... about seeing Yo-yo Ma in concert was at least ten years ago and sadly I still remember the experience. Sometimes I just hate hearing somebody I don't like talking about a musician or music I might like, especially if they like them.
I have an especially bad memory of a retired New York movie theatre owner in his casual wear of street basketball attire wherever he went. This ensemble consisted of ratty grey sweatpants under red cotton striped gym shorts, t-shirt, and battered sneakers. I encountered him in such attire in a coffee house. He was a pushy, loud person, obnoxious I would say, and though he was wounded by the world in some way I could feel little compassion for him; he had revealed in a hundred small ways that he held the world and people in poor regard. There are so many rip off bastards in the world, he'd say in a thousand different ways in a million loud anecdotes of proof. It was clear he felt the world owed him something, and he was always trying to get something for free to get back at it. Free phone calls, free cups of coffee, free cups, free newspapers.
That day he wanted to share his personal triumph in pulling one over on the mean old world. He was prancing about in delight and kissed the tips of his cupped fingers, waved his hand in the air in some dated Euro-trash affectation after exclaiming "Yo-yo Ma!" Actually, first came "Yo-yo Ma" then came his own private fingersmack followed by an affected "mwah!"
The core reason for his delight was he had made the prime cut, and was getting a reduced fee on some cruise line trip out of New York to some foreign port of call because he (and this was before the movie came out) was hired to dance with cruise ship wallflowers in the ballroom. That, I supposed, and watch the radish roses turn brown, the buffet's ice sculpture melt, and passengers offloaded and marooned for being found with a pack of matches. And, of course, he was getting a reduced price ticket and Yo-yo Ma was scheduled to play throughout the cruise. That's where Yo-yo Ma came in. The guy never really mentioned the music, only the prestige of the name.