A Musical Critic's Holiday

A Musical Critic's Holiday

A Musical Critic's Holiday

A Musical Critic's Holiday

Excerpt

THE ARGUMENT

The critic, distracted and puzzled by the clash of opinion in the world of music, withdraws a while from that world to think things over. Is there any possibility of reaching certitude in our judgments, seeing that music is always changing, always adding to its vocabulary and its technique?

Objective and subjective criticism in general. Anatole France's dictum. The theory that criticism is, and can only be, and ought to be subjective breaks down in the hands of the very people who profess it. In the act of denying that standards can be objective, they virtually claim to possess such standards themselves.

Can anything like a technical basis for criticism be discovered, -- something roughly corresponding to the technical fundamentals of composition?

Why not make a study of a representative critic of the past, (as a scientist would study an organism), trying to see just how the critical faculty functioned in him, the principles, true or false, on which he worked, how far he succeeded or failed, and why?

Johann Christian Lobe taken for this purpose. His Letters of a Well-known ( 1852). Except for the differences in the names, it might be the music and musicians of our own day that he is discussing. His theoretical principles are admirable; but in spite of these . . .

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