critic

What Makes a Baroque Cellist — by Guy Fishman

I was once accused of playing like a baroque cellist. It was most certainly an accusation, and I don’t know what the coach was hoping to achieve by framing her opinion of my playing in such terms. Suffice it to say I was insulted, and the funny thing is, I don’t even know why. Okay, I was playing Brahms’s F major sonata, on a cello that had an endpin and two steel strings (the other two were wound gut). My partner was playing a Steinway M. Furthermore, and perhaps most revealing, is the fact that by the time I was being coached on this piece, during my second year of doctoral studies at New England Conservatory, I had already won a position with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, the nation’s [...]

The View from Both Sides — by Robert Battey

  Critic. n.: one who walks out onto the field after a battle to shoot the wounded.   As a still-occasionally-performing cellist as well as a regular music critic for the Washington Post and STRINGS magazine, I feel exquisitely the sentiment expressed by the wag above.  There are few things more discouraging than to give a concert of which one is proud, only to later read that you “had an off night, with wayward intonation and a pinched sound.” On the other side, to judge from the press quotes sprinkled in concert flyers and musicians’ bios, one might think that everyone is incredible. In such a subjective realm as the performing arts, these anomalies and injustices will always be with us. No two people hear the same thing at a [...]