Last week the Los Angeles Times interrupted its continuous coverage of the Academy Awards to run a Mark Swed review of a recent Los Angeles Philharmonic concert. The program was all-American (unless you refuse to accept something written by a Argentinian composer as American). It was anchored by an old Aaron Copland chestnut and included a non-film score and a piece by a native of Modesto.
The Phil will repeat the same program on tour in Europe. Swed enthused that "Dudamel prepared to inject a dose of L.A.'s brash, even reckless, attitude toward the cautiously conservative classical music establishment." Look out Europe, L.A. is really gonna rock your world.
Swed's review text, however, failed to mention the most interesting part. You had to read the caption of a picture found only on an inside page of the print edition to learn this tidbit. Here's the picture. Click it to see it larger. Can you spot the big news?
Yes, Alberto Ginastera will be performing his own piano concerto. That's remarkable because Alberto passed away in 1983. Not only is the Philharmonic shaking up the cautiously conservative establishment half a world away, they're now able to bring musicians back from the dead. Is there nothing they can't do? I'm very impressed. Imagine how impressed the Europeans will be.
And it must be true because I read it in the Los Angeles Times.
There is precedent for post-mortem performers, however. In 2008 Mixed Meters was surprised to read about a live performance by pianist Art Tatum. Except this was in a paid advertisement in the New York Times, not an actual review. Tatum, who died in 1956, had been dead even longer than Ginastera.
Mistakes in captions are, I'm sure, part and parcel of modern newspaper budget cutbacks.
Here's another example I clipped from the L.A. Times many years ago. Apparently they published this on March 17, 2002 because this article is on the back of the paper. I'm surprised to discover that I have never posted it to Mixed Meters.
Can you spot the error this time?
Yes, the man is playing a contrabass, not a cello. Duh.