Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Good Review for the Critic

Apropos of what Steve and Alex had to say about Richard Dyer's sad departure from the Boston Globe, I want to thank him semi-publically. He gave me the only review my music has ever gotten in a major paper (aside from a two word mention--"attractively chromatic"--in the Paper of Record) which said of a song cycle I wrote, settings of poems by e.e. cummings: "Thank You, Goodnight is a large, generous work, mediating between honky-tonk and high art." How much of my life, before and since, has been spent doing just that he could not have known, but I was thrilled with his percetive critique of my work. He managed to divine and then worry my whole mission (at that time at least) down to a single spry sentence. In other words, he really did his job.

I was a student in Boston for six years, and as I essentially grew up as a composer there, I can say I grew up reading Dyer's reviews. I did not always agree; sometimes, being in that especially "piss and vinegar" stage of Graduate School, I disagreed rather violently; but I always appreciated and above all respected his insights, his encyclopedic knowlege, and, as evidenced by the kind and thoughtful words he granted me, his ability to quickly and exactly use language to put a razor fine point on whatever he addressed. This will be tough to replace.

So should he be reading this, by some act of chance, allow me to offer my own humble thanks for his keen words, from a composer who feared him to a critic who caught what was there to catch in the work. What you said was not only appreciated, but drunk in, turned over in my head, and (hopefully) spit out in the form of more developed, more mature work. I am sure I am not the only one to feel this way.


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