Also, I think I’ve come a long way since last season. I’m starting to see a lot of issues with the structure of my reviews or some other aspect of the writing. Consciousness of my shortcomings will lead to much improvement. However, I must be cautious and make sure these “shortcomings” aren’t simply divergences from the style exemplified by the big newspaper critics. I don’t necessarily want to write like them.
Another thing I need to work on is speed. Getting the reviews out in a timely manner might not matter so much right now considering I don’t have a large audience, but it might be in the future.
Here lies one slight issue I took with the discrepancies between the Rubin judging criteria as they were explained to us Fellows and as they were applied. The professional critics on staff told us that we didn’t have to write like we were writing for a newspaper, and to let our personal voices and writing styles shine through. Every day, when I looked at the packets of everyone’s reviews from the previous night, I didn’t see much stylistic variance. When I did see it (usually in the form of the first person pronoun and opinions attached to it) it jumped out at me, and I wholly enjoyed reading it. Some of it came off as more think piece-esque than review, but it was the kind of writing I like to read, and talk about, and share with other people who care about it. Evidently the critics thought that kind of writing was also discussion worthy, because two of those reviews were featured work at the public session.
I wrote in a measured newspaper-esque style at the Rubin because the concerts didn’t spark the kind of reaction that drives a review into the territory of something that transcends recap-dom. But what if they had? I wonder. What if I had had the same kind of reaction that kunst-muzik had to Dal Niente playing George Haas? What if I had heard something that shook me as much as this performance, courtesy of Nathan Lesser,that started me down this path of searching for music that shakes the soul? I may not have been moved to write free verse this time around, but if free verse is what will best express the listening experience, I see no reason why that cannot be just as legitimate “criticism” as anything Anne Midgette writes about the National Symphony, though it may not be published in a newspaper.
I admire Anne Midgette, and Alex Ross. I want to articulate my opinions as clearly as she does. I want to make the music come alive in words like he does. I do not want to be them.
I put a first person pronoun in a review for the first time since I was eighteen yesterday.