Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Music critics, meet your forebears!

Today Slate has an awesome piece called "Great Composers, Lousy Reviews: When music critics attack." It explores the long history of overblown music criticism as far back as when it was applied to Mozart and Beethoven. It's good to know our roots are strong!

Best excerpt:

Well, everybody liked Brahms, right? In Boston they didn't. In 1885, the Evening Transcript reported, "It must be admitted that to the larger part of our public, Brahms is still an incomprehensible terror." Another critic suggested that egresses in the new Boston Symphony Hall should be labeled "Exit In Case of Brahms." By 1905, Boston seemed to be resigned to him, maybe because now they had Debussy to kick around: "Poor Debussy, sandwiched in between Brahms and Beethoven, seemed weaker than usual. We cannot feel that all this extreme ecstasy is natural; it seems forced and hysterical; it is musical absinthe."

Read the whole article here.

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