A couple of weeks ago I posted a music video, and I alluded to my belief that music videos have about them an inherent silliness. Grown men stand around lip-syncing to their own songs and mugging for the camera. Silliness is not necessarily a bad thing — plenty of silly things are also great fun and worthwhile — but I admit I find the popularity of music videos baffling. I have watched a number of them, and I am hard pressed to name a single one that really enhances the song (well, perhaps there is one).
Videos for pop music are bad enough; things become really ridiculous on those rare occasions when classical artists try to make them. The artificiality of the idiom simply becomes too evident. Here’s a good example of a failed effort: the talented (and awfully pretty) soprano Anna Netrebko sings Dvorak’s “Song to the Moon”, from Rusalka. (Duration: 5 minutes)
Admittedly, they are not all that bad. The most successful one I have found is this one, of the golden-throated British tenor Ian Bostridge singing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ beautiful song “Silent Noon”. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the filming tasteful. And what a voice! (Duration: 4:20)