Author Topic: David Hurwitz  (Read 18293 times)

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Offline The new erato

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2016, 01:49:09 AM »
Funnily enough, having mostly read page 2 of this thread before page 1, I was going to say "a critic is just an audience member for money".

I like critics so long as they're perceptive. Follow a given critic long enough and you can also work out their own leanings, biases, pet hates etc. and sort of develop a code for translating their comments to take into account your own leanings, biases, pet hates etc. We've all got them, because we're all human beings.

As for Britons favouring Britons, I've thought that for a long time, for example after getting to know the Penguin CD guide. It's not necessarily harmful, for example any inclination they had to steer me towards the Hyperion label has been richly rewarded, but at the same time it's perfectly possible there are things I've missed out on on equivalent continental European labels (or America, or even Australian) that would have been just as satisfying. There's nothing wrong with Britons favouring good British stuff, so long as it doesn't tip over into an uncritical declaration that it's all good just because it's British.
Ideally one needs to read the occasional issue of Diapason or Fonoforum to get some perspective. My German isn't too bad (and jpc lists the latest recommendations), to get any sense out of Diapason (which I buy when I visit France) the star system is a good help to understand if they actuially like a disc :-) though my French is on the level that I understand a reviews general drift.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #41 on: January 12, 2016, 01:51:35 AM »
Here it is:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12140/?search=1

Quote:

"This description may sound like damning with faint praise, but it isn’t meant to be. If I were a British critic and this were a Chandos production of some second-tier English composer (say, Dyson, or Finzi, or Moeran), I could carry on about “yet another triumphant example of the extraordinary musical resurgence of the early 20th century, etc., etc.,” ad nauseam."

Would that more composers were so "second-tier"

And trying to reinforce some notion of composer caste system would never be what I want from a cd review. The dismissing text also doesn't tally with the 9,9 rating he awards the disc. Does he always write like this?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 01:53:24 AM by SimonNZ »

Offline Florestan

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2016, 01:52:31 AM »
Here it is:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12140/?search=1

This is actually one of the mildest, most sympathetic and most positive Hurwitz reviews I have ever read. Quite unlike his usual stuff.  :)

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Offline Madiel

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #43 on: January 12, 2016, 02:04:52 AM »
See, even saying that Hurwitz isn't usually positive is a stereotype. It's not true. I don't read that website regularly, but it is one of the ones I usually search if I'm curious about something and want to see what reviews are out there. He is perfectly capable of giving out 9s and 10s when he thinks they are warranted, and in any case a "critic" who gives out nothing but 9s and 10s simply isn't being critical enough.

Not everything can be the best of the best... and similarly not every composer can be the best of the best. That is completely different from saying a composer isn't enjoyable, and that particular review actually makes that distinction pretty explicitly.  But if one is trying to distinguish what is good from what is outstanding, as a critic must to be any use, not everyone gets a prize.
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Offline Madiel

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #44 on: January 12, 2016, 02:08:56 AM »
Please don't mention Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Ross Edwards as Nigel Westlake fandom... ::)

They write cool music, but wow, so many Australian composers still underrepresented even here!

I don't think the Australian attitude to Australian artists is necessarily the same as the British attitude to British artists. For classical music, I suspect we still tend to think of it as a European artform - and is that any wonder when all the most famous names, the ones that get programmed, are from Europe?

Many years ago the premiere of Carl Vine's piano concerto was televised. I remember thinking that was a pretty remarkable thing. These days it seems to be Elena Kats-Chernin who is capable of breaking through to get wider media references.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #45 on: January 12, 2016, 02:10:12 AM »
See, even saying that Hurwitz isn't usually positive is a stereotype.

Granted.  :D

Quote
He is perfectly capable of giving out 9s and 10s when he thinks they are warranted, and in any case a "critic" who gives out nothing but 9s and 10s simply isn't being critical enough.

Not everything can be the best of the best... and similarly not every composer can be the best of the best. That is completely different from saying a composer isn't enjoyable, and that particular review actually makes that distinction pretty explicitly.  But if one is trying to distinguish what is good from what is outstanding, as a critic must to be any use, not everyone gets a prize.

Agreed.
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Offline knight66

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2016, 02:14:04 AM »
I got so sick of the UK critics eulogising over every last eructation by Simon Rattle, that it pushed me in the opposite direction and I hardly listen to his musicmaking. There have been exceptional recordings, but quite a few that I have heard do nothing for me.

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: David Hurwitz
« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2016, 03:35:44 AM »

It's a pet peeve of mine, but I really detest when critics go on and on about whether the music should be of interest to me or not. Dislike it? Say it and move on. The reviewer's job is NOT to provide verbose opinions of the composer, but of the disc/performance at hand.

Hear, hear. And when part of his opinion is:

Quote
Persichetti, like his colleagues such as Giannini, Mennin, Piston, Creston, Schuman, and to some extent Barber and Harris, belongs to a fairly well-defined school of American neo-classicists ....

... he undermines his own credibility. "Neo-classicists"?  Is that the best communal descriptor he could come up with? The lot all write less-interesting Pulcinellas, is that it?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 03:56:57 AM by karlhenning »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2016, 03:51:20 AM »
Let's ask Mr. Henning these questions since he's most definitely a part of an artistic cycle and I am not: what part does a critic play into your musical process and do you think their criticism of any of your work has been an asset or a liability to getting more of your work heard?
No critics/reviewers have ever discussed my work in print (or pixels), so the question remains entirely abstract.

I've been writing for some while, and feel reasonably confident in my work and abilities.  So I don't think any negative review would "shake" me, as it might well a young composer who is trying to make his way in the musical world. I even wonder (though one must be careful of what one wishes for) whether a real stinker of a negative review would not be preferable to the decades of nothing, on Oscar Wilde's principle that "the only worse thing than being talked about is not being talked about."
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline North Star

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2016, 03:55:53 AM »
No critics/reviewers have ever discussed my work in print (or pixels), so the question remains entirely abstract.
What? It wasn't a professional critic who named Suspension Bridge the worst viola sonata ever?  ;)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2016, 03:56:30 AM »
What? It wasn't a professional critic who named Suspension Bridge the worst viola sonata ever?  ;)

Best review I ever had!  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2016, 04:05:21 AM »
Hurwitz is often an ass, but i find nothing problematic in this review and pretty much agree with all of it.  You do want this excellent set if you are interested in Persichetti or American symphonic music, but it's a step below, say, Piston's best.

Agree with you (and Andrei) that the review itself is quite tame (and I read it without realizing that the author was Hurwitz, believe it or not).  I haven't listened to any of the Persichetti symphonies, so I have no opinion on their relative worth compared to Piston, Schuman or Mennin;  sure, I discounted his opinion as one who hadn't the musical sense to appreciate distinctions among that clowder of mid-century US symphonists . . . but neither did I take his mildly negative appraisal as "significant damnation."
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Madiel

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #52 on: January 12, 2016, 04:08:10 AM »
I haven't listened to any of the Persichetti symphonies

Avoidance, or sheer lack of opportunity?
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Offline Jo498

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Re: David Hurwitz
« Reply #53 on: January 12, 2016, 04:09:24 AM »
Hear, hear. And when part of his opinion is:

... he undermines his own credibility. "Neo-classicists"?  Is that the best communal descriptor he could come up with? The lot all write less-interesting Pulcinellas, is that it?
I have seen used "neo-classicism" far more broadly, so it would certainly also include less-interesting "Symphonies in three Movements" or "Mathis der Maler" etc.
As I hardly know any music of these American composers I have no opinion whether the lumping together is justified, but neo-classicism is often used extremely broadly.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #54 on: January 12, 2016, 04:15:56 AM »
I find extremely amusing when I (oftenly) hear that music unites people. That seems to me quite untrue. Music is actually highly divisive, witness this thread, or the one about avoidance, or the recently locked one, or countless other threads, active or locked, rife with disagreements, misunderstandings and recriminations occasioned by music.  :D

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Offline North Star

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #55 on: January 12, 2016, 04:17:49 AM »
I find extremely amusing when I (oftenly) hear that music unites people. That seems to me quite untrue. Music is actually highly divisive, witness this thread, or the one about avoidance, or the recently locked one, or countless other threads, active or locked, rife with disagreements, misunderstandings and recriminations occasioned by music.  :D
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #56 on: January 12, 2016, 04:20:18 AM »
Avoidance, or sheer lack of opportunity?

The latter, I think.  Years ago, I played a couple of his minor works for symphonic band;  nice, well written, but arguably minor works (and therefore no basis to judge the composer's overall work).
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2016, 04:21:37 AM »
I have seen used "neo-classicism" far more broadly, so it would certainly also include less-interesting "Symphonies in three Movements" or "Mathis der Maler" etc.

As I hardly know any music of these American composers I have no opinion whether the lumping together is justified, but neo-classicism is often used extremely broadly.

Well, that's reasonable enough, to be sure.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: David Hurwitz
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2016, 04:24:52 AM »
Music reviewers generally do not provide a detailed analysis of a work. And film is a different animal - we are talking music reviews. But then there is a huge difference between making broad statements with no support (in a short review) vs a more detailed analysis.

The differences between the art forms are not so great as to invalidate my point. A major problem with music-reviewing is that to discuss musical points, a technical vocabulary is helpful but the readership is not generally versed in this vocabulary. In addition, the newspapers and other media generally cannot print musical examples.
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: David Hurwitz is an ass .....
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2016, 04:36:19 AM »
Personally, I never understood the need for approval from a critic. People can make up their own minds about art and I'll leave it at that and will be curious to read Karl's answers.

Mr. Henning has replied, but I think my post has more than answered your objections. None of us, you included, exists in a vacuum where we are all just "making up our own minds" or "giving our own opinions" that haven't been somehow shaped by the cultural environment in which we take part, and that includes the influence of various critics. If 100 recordings are released in a week, or 50 shows are playing on Broadway, or 200 artists are on view in the galleries, what determines which recording you will buy or which show you'll see or which gallery you will visit? You can't take them all in so as to form your own opinion and make up your own mind; inevitably for every recording you hear there are 20 you'll miss. Critics, good ones that is or ones we can count on to share our own tastes, can perform a valuable filtering function directing us to the most interesting examples for us to explore ourselves.
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