In the July issue of The Strad (print only), I examine the highly stressed role of music critics in a shrinking media environment. At the heart of the matter is the question of expectation: what performers, editors and readers want to find in their daily review columns. Here’s a pull-quote from the column:
Criticism is clinging to a rock-face in a tempest and is dangerously short of friends. As an editor who has hired and fired critics, I was acutely aware of their individual value and shortcomings, their vanity and vulnerability. But the more I dealt with their difficult and delicate occupation, the more I admired tenacity of critics and the more disturbed I became by the unreality of expectations on the other side – the stage.
What, let me ask all you who play for a living, what do you expect of a critic? Does he or she need to read music? Play an instrument? Perform Schenkerian analysis? Know Schopenhauer by heart? Deplore Andrew Lloyd Webber? Always turn up in a clean shirt?
So, tell me, what do you expect?
photo: Edward Greenfield, from spitalfieldslife.com