Thursday, September 25, 2008

Print Critics Have Lots of Worries

Not only is print distribution severely shrinking, now the ink-stained wretches on the Arts beat can't be critical either. Has the readership of arts pages shrunk so much that it only includes advertisers and board members?

This from the New York Times today:

For years the classical music critic at The Plain Dealer of Cleveland has taken shots at the conductor of his hometown orchestra, saying he lacks musical ideas and brings little life to many of the works he conducts. Supporters of the orchestra, one of the world’s best, and even some players have long complained about his opinions regarding the maestro, Franz Welser-Möst.

Now some people fear those opinions have been heard. The critic, Donald Rosenberg, has been removed from the symphony beat.

At the blog Extracriticum, Roland Tec points out the following:

Of course, newspapers caving to pressure regarding their Arts coverage is nothing new. Hell, the Grey Lady even polled readers when it decided to completely overhaul its calendar format last year.

And in Boston, few people are old enough to remember how former Globe Music Critic Richard Dyer got his job. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he used to write letters excoriating the "inept" music criticism on its pages. He wrote so many of these poison pen missives that shortly after his graduation, the Globe fired the man who'd been the brunt of Mr. Dyer's rants and hired Dyer to replace him.

1 comment:

Thomas Garvey said...

Dyer's scathing comments about Seiji Ozawa were legendary, and are pretty much unthinkable under the Globe's current editors. Not that James Levine deserves that kind of invective, but it's often struck me that the Globe is now essentially a cheering section for Levine and the BSO. Last week Eichler ventured the first criticism I can recall of "the maestro" (as they call him over there), expressing a yen for a return to something like the notorious Schoenberg/Beethoven series Levine rammed down subscribers' throats a year or two ago. (Heaven forbid!) Eichler seems bent on deploying his erudition and writing talent on promotion of the BSO rather than criticism; so much so that I've wondered sometimes if maybe there weren't some Globe/BSO connection like the one in Cleveland. Remind me to check over their Board in the program next time I go to Symphony!