Letters: An Ideal Critic

Dear Editor,

As a great supporter of the JMI may I suggest an area of musical discourse that still needs to be more thoroughly addressed, now that you have established the magazine and have the space that the newspapers don’t have for it: in-depth music criticism.

I feel that your reviewer Conor Kostick should take the bull by the horns and be a little braver.

A music critic needs deep love and deep knowledge and a long perspective so that ideas that come around again after 30 years are not perceived as totally new to a new generation. A critic, like a composer, needs a vision of how contemporary music should or could be, and should be a friend to composers and performers, engaged in heated but mutually respected argument. What most often happens is a shopping list review as an item of news, that such-and-such was performed by so-and-so, sometimes followed by a short point being made, not argued through (due to lack of space mainly) that is neither informative to the reader nor the composer. 30 years pass by and none of us is any the wiser.

Ideally a critic is someone who enlightens composer, performer and audience alike and is an educator to all. All composers I know, including myself, simply want intelligent well-argued feedback. We can be just as disappointed by a good review as a bad one by knowing the depth of perspective the critic is writing from. Taking it on the chin is not a problem.

So come on Conor, put on the boxing gloves – let’s go!

Roger Doyle
Bray, Co. Wicklow

Published on 1 May 2002

Roger Doyle is a Dublin-based Irish composer working in electronic music.

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