Thursday, 26 July 2012

Critic, know thyself

(From the blogosphere)

Theatre critic, playwright, and author George Hunka wrote a piece on his blog Superfluities Redux titled The Complete Critic’s Qualifications reiterating theatre critic Harold Clurman’s 1964 list of the so-called “12 commandments” for theatre and drama critics and comments.

These 12 commandments were modified and published in another blog Sounds and Fury, as equally valid for classical music and opera critics.

According to the blog post, besides having cultivated taste, feeling and a talent for clear observation of all classical musics:
  1. The critic should know the greater part of historical and contemporary classical music as written and performed. Added to this, he must be conversant with general literature: novels, poetry, essays of wide scope.
  2. He should know the history of classical music from its origins to the present.
  3. He should have a long and broad concert- and opera-going experience — of native and foreign ensembles.
  4. He should possess an interest in and a familiarity with the arts: painting, theater, architecture and the dance.
  5. He should have worked in classical music organizations in some capacity (apart from criticism).
  6. He should know the history of his country and world history: the social thinking of past and present.
  7. He should have something like a philosophy, an attitude toward life.
  8. He should write lucidly, and, if possible, gracefully.
  9. He should respect his readers by upholding high standards and encourage his readers to cultivate the same.
  10. He should be aware of his prejudices and blind spots.
  11. He should err on the side of generosity rather than an opposite zeal.
  12. He should seek to enlighten rather than carp or puff.
Comments are welcome!

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