Orion Weiss
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews.

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And this brings us to an interesting problem in the world of performers: Reviews. Reviews, reviewers, reviews, reviews. That's about as succinct as I can be. Let's see if I can expound a little.

How does one deal with reviews? Well there are several ways, all of which (none of which) work in their own way (don't work). One can try to simply ignore them and keep one's focus on the long term. This is done by not reading the reviews, which is impossible, especially if you have a Google news alert set up for yourself, and who doesn't nowadays. You have to read the reviews, there's no way out. Every word, every mixed metaphor, every mention of a cellphone ring, every bit of background musical history has to be digested and redigested and pondered over. It's just like reading a newspaper article about something you wouldn't normally be interested in, except inevitably your name gets mentioned. How does one deal with that? Luckily the personal comments in the review are almost always phrased in the third person, which makes them a little easier to ignore. For instance, they would never say, "YOU are a pianist". They would say "Orion Weiss is a pianist", and since that's such an implausible name for a person I am able to distance myself just slightly from the put-down. In the event of a truly bad review, one's strongest weapon is the ellipsis. ...

Well, I've just returned from a short break and all kinds of wonderful things have happened! I won a car on “The Price is Right,” I saved a kitten from a tree, and I received a posthumous love letter from Grace Kelly. It's good to be back. Uh oh I feel another ellipsis coming on. ... ...

OK, that was a double ellipsis, so I've had even more time for amazing things to happen to me: I was knighted, I received a Macarthur Grant and I finally got that Academy Award I've been waiting for. Yes yes and yes.

As you can see from those subtle examples, the ellipsis allows you to leave out information and imply that good things have happened in the interim. So a sentence in a review like "The pianist Orion Weiss was mauled by the wonderful rhinoceros which escaped from the zoo on Thursday" will become "the pianist Orion Weiss was ... wonderful... ...on Thursday". It makes sense, it's journalistically honest, and you can thank god he thought the rhino was wonderful. You can also insert words that the critic might have mistakenly left out of the review, using the thick bracket technique, thus: "[Orion Weiss] was truly the greatest of all of the 19th century Hungarian gypsy pianists." What a compliment, I'll take it!

The final way to deal with reviews is to make sure that you don't ever really believe what they say, good or bad. The first will go to your head, and the second will go to your heart. They will both go to your hips. And whatever you do, don't memorize your reviews, that's the worst! And don't paint them on your walls, or cover yourself in review tattoos. And don't name your kids after words in a review; just remember, every so often, a talent comes along that makes every visitor to his webpage...