Three Luminaries in Music Criticism

Three Luminaries in Music Criticism

This is a tale with some twists.

The first really good book of music criticism I read was Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise.


Alex Ross

I used this book as a guide for buying important music, especially Duke Ellington’s suites.

The next really great book of music criticism I built myself, out of the articles by Greg Sandow in the Wall Street Journal, the blogs at New Music Box, and artsjournal. 880 pages. All of this material is still available at Greg’s web site. I used this “book” also as a guide to buying especially new music, groups like Ethel and eighth blackbird. After I had “built” the book, I sent Greg a copy. It was, after all, a single file, which made a lot of it searchable.

Greg Sandow

So, now, I finally bought the book So I’ve Heard, the collected later criticism of Alan Rich, described by Alex Ross as the “Dean of American criticism”.
sihAlan recently passed away. I was supposed to meet him on my next trip to Los Angeles to visit my daughter and her family. Alan and I struck up a relationship after he wrote a piece for the monthly newsletter for KUSC, Classical Public Radio in L.A. I sent him a note about KUSC. He responded to me and put me on his email distribution list. We had some email back and forth. He was very kind to this simple listener, kinder than he was to some of the people about whom he wrote. The last exchange we had was his request that I send him a couple of DVD’s of the Great Performances production of the Gustavo Dudamel premier in Los Angeles.

So, now the twists.

On page xxix on Alan’s book, he refers to a blog entry by Alex Ross. Here is the link.. The piece starts out, “I hate ‘classical music’: not the thing but the name”. Sound interesting? Hit the link and read more. it is wonderful. And, to whom might you suppose Alex refers? at II para 1, none other than Greg Sandow at the arts journal blog link above.

It surely is a small interlinked world at the top.