MUSICALLY MISCELLANEOUS MAYHEM

Musicological Musings with a smattering of Miscellanea

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

New Hat!

I've now joined the reviewing "staff" at the Boston Musical Intelligencer. I've long admired their goal "to list every classical music concert in greater Boston." They also "intend to review as many as possible, especially those deemed most important and unjustly neglected by our editors."

I'm not sure what constitutes an "important" classical music concert, but neglected ones are not hard to find. Music criticism is fast becoming a lost art, with budget cuts at major papers. As musicologists, this should be cause for great concern because it is the critics who really end up being the chroniclers of concert life (if such a thing exists). Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective is a humorous read and supplement to any music history course, but it also provides some invaluable snapshots of reception history, context, and occasionally the music itself (!) I am not advocating invective as a norm, of course (in fact I hope the occasion that warrants it is rare), but when it comes to art and music, in particular, it cannot be separated from the aesthetic viewpoint (errant or otherwise). As a musicologist, it is easy enough to be critical of music on a recording, or by a composer long since dead. But I'd like to encourage my colleagues to get out there---put the book down, go to a concert---keep this tradition alive. Blog about the concerts you go to. Start your version of the Boston Musical Intelligencer in your own city. And really, it all comes down to basic economics ( a course in which I received the worst grade of my college career, incidentally)--supply and DEMAND. It doesn't have to be the BSO, or the LA or NY Phil. I bet you've got a community chorus in your area that worked long and hard on some amazing repertoire and could really use some constructive feedback. It is the subtext of many a choral song: anyone out there? Are you listening?

And speaking of choruses, a shameless plug for my own: Spectrum Singers. 30th Anniversary. 30 years, yes...in Boston. We've got an amazing concert coming up on November 21st. I'd really like for you to be there. Bach Magnificat, Schutz's Deutsches Magnificat, the third and sixth cantatas of Bach's Christmas Oratorio with orchestra members from Emmanuel Music. I've got discounted tickets. Leave a comment and I'll find you!