Re: Julian Cochran - Classical Pianist and Composer
Posted by Nick Barnard on April 14, 2013, 5:50 pm, in reply to "Re: Julian Cochran - Classical Pianist and Composer"
Some observations that might help Mr White; I should preface this by saying I have not heard the disc in question and so have no opinion either way regarding that specific CD or the music it contains. Likewise, I have no direct contact with or knowledge of Byzantion beyond reading his reviews here and elsewhere. |
MusicWeb provides potential reviewers with a helpful set of guidelines. They are available for anyone to read here - http://www.musicweb-international.com/index2.htm#write - but here are a salient couple of points taken from it: 8. Reviews should wherever possible include comparison (usually in broad terms) with other recordings whether deleted or not and in the case of music that may be unfamiliar some description of style and who else it sounds like (can make for crass comparisons but it gives some guideline and encouragement to explore).
9. Reviews should avoid high technical levels of musical analysis - be literate, accurate, lively but always accessible.
All reviewers tread a tight-rope balancing their own taste and writing style with the demands and expectations of their target audience. Personally, I feel an excessive display of technical speak would alienate more than it would enthral and risks making the reviewer read like some frustrated academic.
Likewise, I understand what Byzantion means by "product" although I might have chosen a slightly different word. We should not review the music in isolation. It is part of a larger whole which includes (naturally) interpretation and technical address but must also encompass recording quality, presentation, "rarity",value for money (a tricky concept in its own right) and that's before one gets to amorphous ideas of musical "importance".
As a reviewer, I would like nothing better than to write reviews full of heart-felt praise. But I imagine myself addressing someone with hard-earned cash in their pocket - so can I in all honesty write something that might cause them to spend that unwisely? At the back of my mind I want any reader of my reviews to think "I'm glad I bought/did not buy disc X,Y or Z because of this review". The easiest reviews to write are the solid-gold knock-out discs; performers are happy, record companies are happy and the buying public are happy.
But we all know such discs are rarities. As Byzantion says, if you do not enjoy the reviewing style of a particular writer or find their views do not chime with your own - ignore them! That's what I do.
Personally I enjoy reading Byzantion's reviews because his interests are in fields I know little about so his enthusiasms prompt me to investigate pastures new - one of the most valuable functions of a reviewer I feel.