Young Music Critic Competition in the New Statesman

I’m too old to enter this, but if you’re not yet 30 you might want think about it. Either way, you should check out the introduction page, if only for the judges’ summaries of what they think makes a good critic.

Here’s Alex Ross:

Critics are, first of all, journalists, and while there is no such thing as an objective, just-the-facts-ma’am description of music, a good review ought to give a sense of what it was like to attend a certain event. It should have atmosphere, human detail, a sense of context and history. The review must rest on a strong foundation of musical knowledge, yet that knowledge should not be shoved in the face of the reader. And there must be a certain music in the prose. Dull, awkward, or jargonistic writing is a betrayal of the art. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to remain passionately engaged over the long term – not to become jaded, politely accepting, cynical, or, worst of all, nostalgic. To the end, critics must remain open to the possibility of being totally undone by what they hear.

And here’s Roger Scruton:

A critic should be able to recognise all of the following: pretentiousness, insincerity, bombast, kitsch. And he or she should be familiar with all of the following: singing, dancing, smiling, weeping, praying, kissing.

Words to live and work by.

2 thoughts on “Young Music Critic Competition in the New Statesman

  1. “pretentiousness, insincerity, bombast, kitsch”

    -> Brian Ferneyhough

    He’s also the master of pseudo intellectual posturing.

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