Maestro Clegg


By Stephen Pollard
May 4, 2010
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The wonderful pianist Stephen Hough - who one doesn't usually associate with political analysis - has a penetrating observation:

There is a phenomenon in the musical world of which I was reminded
during the party leaders’ debates over the past three weeks.  A
conductor will be invited to an orchestra (sometimes as a last-minute
replacement) and will make a huge impression on his or her first
visit.  The charisma is palpable, the musical ideas fresh, the
personality engaging, the repartee at the pre-concert talk or
post-concert reception witty and charming, the concerts an enormous
critical and public success.  The management is on the phone the next
morning: “We’d like to book Imnot Reveelung for three weeks next
season”.  Sometimes this is the beginning of a major career which goes
from strength to strength and the rest is history; but sometimes, by
the third week of the re-engagement, everyone realizes that the first
impression had been superficial.  This maestro had a few winning pieces
in his repertoire, but not enough to sustain interest.  The charm of
that foreign accent wears off; the raised left eyebrow when he says “pianissimo
dearhearts” begins to annoy everyone as each rehearsal lumbers past;
the ferocious, shaking fist at the climaxes now seems meretricious
rather than thrilling.  Words whisper through the unforgiving corridors
of musical bitchdom and a career which had flared up quickly fizzles
out even more quickly.

He doesn't apply it specifically to Nick Clegg. But I do.

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