Classical Voice of New England Fills a Need
Around the country for the past decade, the print media have been eliminating or dramatically reducing coverage of classical music performances. When they do provide coverage, it is more often advance notice – Previews – than post-performance reporting – Reviews. They are to be congratulated for collaborating with the performers and presenters in this manner to help build audiences. This is extremely important.
However, equally important is the evaluation of the performance, which is the principal goal of a Review. Without this, performers and presenters may not know what succeeded and what did not. Audience members, both those who attended the performance and those who are considering attending a future performance by the same musicians, also need this information to make informed choices.
Those who suffer most in this dearth of print media coverage are the artists who do not have international careers and wide name-recognition, the local and regional ones who are frequently every bit as good as the world-famous.
We are seeking to fill this void, this niche, by providing a calendar for the listing of performances and evaluative coverage of them by knowledgeable writers. We prefer to focus on the local and regional talent rather than on the big names passing through, although we will not ignore these latter ones completely, of course.
We hope that you will find this interesting, useful, and enjoyable, and that you will consider supporting our efforts with a contribution.
Music Critic's Role: Concerts, Opera and Dance
We believe that a review should report on and summarize a performance. It should inform the reader about the pieces presented. It should be in layman’s language, not pedantic or preachy; it’s a review, not a dissertation. It should also, as appropriate, put the performance in the larger context of history and trends in performance practices, the other arts, ideas and philosophies, culture, or the world in general.
A review should evaluate objectively, though not in minute detail, the overall level of quality of the performance. It should point out the things that were positive and those that were negative. It should be constructive, not destructive, suggesting how the negative aspects might have been avoided. It should encourage the artist(s) to improve, change, or continue down a successful path. It should be considered and humble, not autocratic or authoritarian. In the final analysis, it represents the opinion of the knowledgeable and informed writer, and perhaps coincidentally also that of varying numbers of others, but it is not a universally agreed-upon pronouncement.
A review should encourage the reader to continue to be a listener and live-music attendee in order to explore and get to know and love the wealth of repertoire available that would require several lifetimes to hear. It should encourage the reader to support the musicians through attendance at their future performances.
A review should display a love of the art form rather than lament that human beings cannot attain perfection in practicing it, as well as a love of the beauties and pleasures of good writing.