We go to see Appomattox tonight. I’ve skimmed a few reviews, but not really taken them in. I did see a short bit of Scheinin’s on my news feed and it appears he couldn’t stand it. (But I’ll read the entire review only after I see the opera myself.) Hmmm. He didn’t like the last Silicon Valley Symphony concert either. Maybe this is just a bad time of year for him?

Okay … I’m sort of kidding. But I do wonder. Do we hear differently if we are in a bad mood? If our lives are falling apart, would we take things in in a more negative way? (No, I’m not saying this is the case with Mr. Scheinin—I’ve not had a word with him—I’m speaking generally.) I’m wondering how reviewers deal with the outside world, with real life, with even, say, an upset stomach or bad cold. Are they, as they are professionals, able to push real issues aside for the performance, just as we push our “issues” aside when we perform? I’m guessing so.


  1. I definitely hear differently if I am in a bad mood. I have a blog posting written that has been sitting for six months without being published because it started out as a review of “A Flowering Tree” and never got to the point being a review. It is largely about how mood and cirumstances affect me as a reviewer. Hmm.

  2. I would LOVE to read more about reviewers and how they deal with this issue. Post your entry ..?!

    When I’m performing I do manage to stifle my feelings. Sometimes, in fact, it’s good to get to work so I can leave that part of me behind. My colleagues would never even know I’m in a bad state. Unless I tell them of course. Ahhh, acting! Comes with the territory. I was once dealing with a scary health issue and you’d never know it from when I’m at work. (At home was a different matter entirely.)

    But I really don’t think I could HEAR with “open ears” if I were dealing with a crisis or other issues that would “color my ears”.

    Thanks, Lisa, for your honesty. I appreciate it.

  3. We do our best. That’s all anyone can do.

    Mood does affect me, but not in predictable ways or ways that I can stand outside myself and discern. But more often the music affects my mood.

  4. I do trust that reviewers do their best, David. No doubt about that (to me, anyway). I just wondered if you ever had to “fight negativity” or anything.

    I know I’d have to fight commenting on poor audience behavior! That gets old, I suspect. I’m just easily bugged, I think! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting. I SO appreciate hearing from real reviewers.

    Even attempting to write my little big about Appomattox on this blog was difficult for me. I’m definitely not “reviewer material”. Funny how I was just contacted to review a CD. Of piano music. Hah! I had to warn the person … I’m not reviewer and I know very little about piano. I suspect, though, they just want any kind of mention on this blog.

  5. > real reviewers

    The way SFCV works, you, too, could be a real reviewer. They want musicians (pro, amateur), musicologists, composers, and hard-core listeners to do their reviewing.

  6. Well, Lisa … I could … but I couldn’t!

    As much as I wish I had skills in writing, I don’t believe I do.

    I wanted to be a poet do. It just wasn’t to be! (So I write goofy things for my own entertainment!)

    I think if I wrote for SFCV I would be a “real wannabe reviewer”. 🙂

  7. Okay, I posted the blog entry. Sheesh, you know, there is something I need to add, in another posting, though.

  8. No, I don’t consciously fight negativity – as I tried to suggest in my comment above, it’s hard to discern if it’s there.

    For me, the real challenge comes with imperfect performances, the balance between “give the musicians a break, they’re just doing their best, same as anyone else” and “but they ought to be doing better than that if they expect people to pay to sit and listen to them.”

  9. I find that some of the most “imperfect” performances are the ones I’m the most moved by. I’m not sure why. Maybe just knowing they are doing it for love.

    Now if it’s an “imperfect” performance done by a top notch group I’m not sure I’m so forgiving! Is that “fair”? Hmm. Don’t know. But since I don’t write reviews I guess I don’t have to worry about it. Much.