1. I am sorry if the writer finds a touch of light-heartedness (a.k.a. "cheap reference[s]") out of place in MusicWeb reviews. Others, I know, find such a style quite acceptable, if not a positive addition to their overall enjoyment. As someone who has long made a successful living from writing, I also know that a provocative opening paragraph or sentence that grabs the reader's attention is a standard, effective and well-utilised writer's technique. As long as the essential purpose of a review is fulfilled - i.e. a subjective evaluation of the performance and the recording is offered, along with something about the music itself if it's likely to be unfamiliar to many readers - I think we have to accept that different reviewers will go about their task in individual and distinctive ways, even if those do happen to include the making of an occasional "emotional insinuation".
2. Far from finding the reference to Grillparzer "impenetrable" - whatever that is supposed to mean in this context - I was making the slightly tongue-in-cheek point that composers who seek commercial success and to earn a good living need to think about the importance of marketing their compositions effectively. Perhaps that includes watching out for unnecessarily wordy titles. If Grillparzer was such a well-known figure at the time, maybe the addition of his name wasn't really necessary to popularise d'Albert's composition? After all, Tchaikovsky didn't write "Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'" or "Pushkin's 'Eugene Onegin'", yet they've still done pretty well ever since.
3. I submitted my review with upper-case Ds at the beginning of the appropriate sentences. Indeed, my PC's spellcheck facility makes not doing so an impossibility. MusicWeb's unsung heroes who do the laborious behind-the-scenes work of putting the reviews onto the website have confirmed to me that the rare and entirely excusable error was theirs and that it is now being corrected.
4. I come finally to the suggestion that I ought not to have reviewed the disc at all if I "thought so little of d'Albert and his music". The initial premise is not a valid one, I'm afraid. Clearly, I probably wouldn't have asked for the CD at all if I had already possessed such a negative and fixed opinion. In fact, like, I imagine, the majority of MusicWeb readers, I had never encountered several of the pieces on this disc before and I approached them with without preconceptions and with an entirely open mind. My subsequent evaluation reflected my thoughts on the music and my appraisal of the performances. It did so, moreover, in the manner that I find most effective in communicating those judgments, even though others may consider, as they are entirely entitled to do, that it "ruins" some "otherwise informative" reviews.
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb