Friday, December 19, 2014

You are looking at the future of classical music journalism


Quite rightly there is much lamenting about the enforced departure of New York Times music critic Allan Kozinn. Quite wrongly the lamenting is being led by Norman Lebrecht*, who single-handedly has pioneerd the audience whoring click baiting school of tabloid music journalism that has made the informed writing of Allan Kozinn and others redundant. Quite hypocritically the classical music establishment is lamenting the demise of erudite critics and journalists while at the same time throwing its weight behind tabloid music journalism.

* All links to Slipped Disc are indirect to avoid swallowing click bait; the cited reference should appear at the top of the Google search results. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

12 comments:

Elaine Fine said...

This man is a kind of vampire in the world of music journalism. He is a much better fiction writer than he is a journalist. He entered the musical blogosphere, which was once a congenial "place," and turned it into a sensationalist one.

Will said...

A tribute to Allan https://storify.com/willrobin/the-great-allan-kozinn/

Pliable said...

Thanks for those comments Elaine and Will, and it is good to have a link to some informed music writing. Elaine's description of Lebrecht as a “vampire” is apt; in fact he is a dangerous vampire. On Twitter someone has tried to gloss over my criticism by saying “everyone takes Lebrecht with a pinch of salt”. Sadly it is not as easy as that. Elaine will know, as I do, that, thanks to Lebrecht's corrosive influence, every piece of music writing now requires a choice between a short form piece with an audience whoring click baiting headline, or a long form piece with a considered headline. That choice has to be made with the knowledge that the short form audience whoring piece will invariably pull a much larger audience.

Elsewhere on Twitter an establishment music journalist has labelled my criticism of Lebrecht as “obsessive”. If saying something that needs to be said and which very few other people have the spine to say is obsessive, I am happy to accept the label.

crosseyedpianist said...

I made the comment about "taking Norman with a pinch of salt". I was talking on Twitter to another music journalist/blogger and in the public forum of Twitter I didn't want to enter a slanging match, and I suppose I was trying to be ironic. In fact, I find Lebrecht's blog gets daily more ridiculous, full of hyperbole, lazy and inaccurate journalism and tabloid sensationalism. It appals me to discover that apparently intelligent friends and colleagues in the music world read his blog and take it seriously - and even respect him as a music writer/journalist. I want to see others journalists and music bloggers taking him on instead of agreeing with or kowtowing to his views.

nobufans said...

Thank you, thank you, for keeping your watch on Lebrecht's parasitic "journalism" on classical music. It always bewilders me why the well-spoken British public are so fond of tabloids whose headlines make this liberal American blush. But, hey, they are FREE and theor stories do provoke. But worry not -- sensible people will get things sorted out.

Pliable said...

Thank you for those further comments Fran and nobufans. The very high readership and social media activity generated by this post indicates that although I may be the only person publicly expressing concerns about Lebrecht's toxic journalism, I am not the only one privately harbouring concerns.

http://goo.gl/zgJ7eP

It is worth noting incidentally that 'do not link' (http://www.donotlink.com/), an intermediary that I use to link to Slipped Disc posts without enhancing the site's Google page rank, has been blocked, presumably by Lebrecht. Hence my links to Google searches.

Pliable said...

Ottawa Chamberfest have shared this post on Facebook with the following comment:

We think the future of classical music journalism looks like http://www.wolfgangstonic.com.

That link is worth following.

OTOH said...

People reading Lebrecht deserve what they are getting. His regular audience is self-selecting, I imagine, and that is really all that needs to be said.

Mary Jane Leach said...

Agreed. Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. And you haven't even mentioned his misogyny, such as his belittling of Charlotte Moorman.

Pliable said...

Charlotte Moorman - http://eai.org/artistBio.htm?id=344

jfl said...

"I may be the only person publicly expressing concerns about Lebrecht's toxic journalism"

Gosh, I hope you are not! I, if my utterings in various fora can be called "public", try never to hold back about that hack.

Thank heavens there is "Fake Norman Lebrecht" on Twitter. (Who, when he still linked directly, I thought for a micro-second that it might actually have been Lebrecht himself, also milking the crowd of those who despise him for click-throughs. But that would have meant a level of self-awareness and cheekiness that would have forced me to almost respect him again, so I decided it couldn't possibly be him.)

jhb134 said...

Phil, pliable and others - Interesting comments. Maybe music criticism is going in a certain direction (maybe, not FORWARDS) since the days of Harold Schonberg, Conrad L. Osborne and some others that had some, true GREATNESS, in former times. Maybe us listeners should, more-and-more, form our, OWN opinions of the present-day state of classical music, as we enter a new year - eh? ... Thanks!