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Flight Of The Bumblebee, Redux

by David Gura
Apr 21, 2010

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David Gura

Yesterday, in the context of Secret-iPhone-gate, a few of us were having a conversation about the Apple publicity machine. As Neal said yesterday, the tech. giant may be the most secretive corporation in all of Silicon Valley, and when there is a new gizmo — iPod, iPad, iMac, etc. — everyone — including journalists — seems to salivate.

So, with that in mind, I offer this video, of classical pianist Lang Lang playing Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblee" at Davies Symphony Hall, in San Francisco, two nights ago, during an encore. On an iPad.

A friend of mine posted on his Facebook page, writing, "Could Vladimir Horowitz have done this? Or even Oscar Peterson?"

To be frank, I think they probably could have. I'd like to believe that the technology is secondary. More gimmickry than anything else. Lang could've played the same thing on the piano. And I'd venture to say he could've played it better.

I think this video showcases what makes me somewhat critical of the iPad, the iPhone, the Kindle and the like. The devices can display books, magazines, and newspapers. You can them to draw, to play games. You can even play orchestral interludes, if you want. But does the whizbanginess of each device overshadow the fact that, say, Rimsy-Korsakov will still sound better on a Steinway?

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