Midgette on how to listen like a music critic

Posted on: February 7, 2018

Thursday’s (2/1) Washington Post features columns by the newspaper’s culture critics on how they approach writing reviews. States classical music critic Anne Midgette, “First, there is the piece, and the need to know the piece, and the acceptance that you can never know the piece as well as you think you need to know the piece to comment on it.… To listen like a music critic, you don’t need to have some special lode of knowledge. All you need is willingness to have an opinion, and to voice it. This is harder than it sounds, because what paralyzes people about classical music … is the fear of seeming ignorant, or wrong…. A music critic’s job is to tell the story of what happened on a given evening…. The second part … is the more challenging part: What did the performance set out to do, and how well did it do it? … And debate, finally, is the point of the exercise.… Think of the experience as a conversation: The evening offers a point of view, and you respond to it.… It’s a lot more fun to become an active participant than it is to receive the music in reverential, passive silence.”

Posted February 7, 2018