Obviously it is nice and a bit more honest when someone who is commenting on one’s work knows what you are doing to some extent. A critic should be conversant with at least a minimum of knowledge concerning the technical aspects that the people he is critiquing are dealing with. This means speaking the same or close to language to some degree. This goes without saying. On the other hand, too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing and when someone is an “arm-chair quarterback” (sports expression), there is an inherent danger of thinking FOR the subject: ” I would’ve, could’ve, might’ve played this at that point in the piece, etc., etc….. ” This is not right.
To be fair, shedding light on how an interested, experienced, non-musician listener reacts to one’s art can be of definite value. I tell students to put themselves in the audience (what theater people call the fourth wall) when they present something….meaning how is what you played perceived “out there?”
I believe in review, not criticism, meaning information, comment, elucidation, historical precedent, stylistic considerations, etc. but please no value judgments. We (the performer) know better than anyone what is going on. No one but us knows the real deal, so let’s keep things nice and clean concerning the role of a critic. Dan Morgenstern, Whitney Balliett, Leonard Feather were models in the jazz world…..Alex Ross at present for classical, etc., etc. The problem is money. If a magazine or whomever pays low, they get low. Translation….non-
Oct 15 2011
Stroudsburg, PA USA