Girl, You Know It's True
Critic weighs in on the Hatto Hoax
, provides cautionary advice, and delivers a moral:
"That any critic will bring a certain amount of prejudice, either for or against, a particular artist he has heard before is no surprise. It’s only human. If someone in your office acts like a jerk, you naturally think that he will act like a jerk again, and you will probably be right. One critical safeguard against prejudice, though, is to review the performance or recording in question -- that night, that disc -- not the performer’s career.
"I recall an incident a few years back when a local critic was sent to an orchestra concert in which a piano concerto by Franz Xaver Mozart -- Mozart’s son -- was to be performed. He is a minor composer, of course, and that critic was apparently primed not to hate what he heard. Only, instead of performing the concerto by Franz Xaver Mozart, the orchestra and soloist substituted Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto. The critic didn’t know it though, because somehow he didn’t get the program insert. His review took what he thought to be the Franz Xaver Mozart concerto to task for ripping off Beethoven and for its general lack of inspiration, etc. The critic had not only not recognized the “Coronation” Concerto, he hadn’t recognized quality. Oops.
"But what does all this say about music criticism in general? Not much, I say. There are good critics and there are bad critics, just like there are good and bad plumbers and good and bad doctors. If one doctor gives us the wrong diagnosis we do not go shouting to the hills that medicine is a sham. We get a different doctor."