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Comments: Solicited Advice

I was delighted by all the good questions and comments in response to yesterday's inaugural post. (And I owe thanks to Washington’s on-line magazine/blog Ionarts, among others, for the shout-out on my first day of blogging).

There were enough questions to keep me busy both on and off the blog for some time. In particular, I promise a posting here in the next couple of days to respond to questions about classical music reviews at the Post. And it’s clearly time I addressed the topic of classical radio.

But one thing I really loved were comments about people’s experiences of music - like John Wright’s view of the London Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday, which (graciously) took strong exception to my own review. (See the Comments section of my first post.)

I don’t think that it's right for me to embark on a point-by-point debate (and actually, I felt our differences lay more in the way we reacted to hearing similar things, with the exception of the two horn passages that I picked on). But the main thing is that I loved reading this and hearing what he thought. I think this kind of difference of opinion enriches one’s ability to articulate one’s own views. (I see I could have explained better, for instance, what I meant about Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto, which is of course the least flashy of the five.) And of course I’m not above criticism; it’s good for me to know if people think I am genuinely wrong.

I think people are interested in hearing different takes on concerts – I know I am – and one great problem of the one-city, one-paper status quo in most American cities is that there’s only one critic weighing in on each performance. (One at most; as we all know, many papers have let their classical music critics go altogether.) In Washington, we’ve got T. L. Ponick at the Washington Times; Tim Smith reviews Washington concerts for the Baltimore Sun, and Ionarts provides excellent coverage of most Washington performances (when Charles T. Downey, who founded the site, is not writing for the Washington Post).

But I’d love it if people felt free to weigh in with their own views on performances in this blog. One Washington concert-goer, William Kirchhoff, has started writing me every Friday with his own view of Thursday night’s National Symphony Orchestra concert after reading my overnight review in Friday’s paper. I find myself eagerly waiting to hear his different take on the performance, and I bet a lot of other people would enjoy it as well.

So for anyone who wants to send in their own thoughts on performances they’ve heard: we’re reading. Post them in the Comments section of this blog, or send them to me directly, and I'll excerpt them in future posts. My only suggestion would be a 500/700-word limit – not because I’m going to restrict what you say, but only in the interests of getting other people to want to read it.

By Anne Midgette  |  March 31, 2009; 4:22 PM ET
Categories:  from readers  
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I want to express my delight in having this opportunity to interact,and express an opinion.
For a long time I have been a reader of Sandow's blog,and I think it was time for you to have your own.
You mentioned that at some point you will address the subject of classical radio.
I really do not know what it is that you have in mind,but I want to say that I am very disappointed with the programing that our station WETA offers.
It is nothing but a constant repeat of warhorses.
They overplay the masterpieces that I have loved all my life to the point that I do not want to listen to them anymore.
It only takes to drive a couple of hours to the Delmarva peninsula to hear very thought provoking and interesting music at their PBS local station, not to mention the choices offered by the internet.
Perhaps what they play is what the general audience in this city wants to listen to.
If so,I think we are in a very poor state.
Thank you for giving me the chance to express my feelings.
Rigoberto Barata.
Washington DC.

Posted by: zurga2003yahoocom | April 1, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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