"...reviews, though couched in opinion—which is what makes them either illuminating or maddening but also, one hopes, compelling and worth debating—are fundamentally reportage. They are the chronicles of the cultural world, accounts of who did what on a given night, in a given hall, before hundreds or thousands of people interested enough to pay for the experience."
Allan Kozinn, "A Critic for Us All," Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2015
As I wrote elsewhere last night, Allan Kozinn – in the context of his fond, insightful, and incisive coverage for the Wall Street Journal of Music Chronicles: 1940-1954, a new anthology of Virgil Thomson's music criticism prepared for the Library of America by Tim Page – slipped in the above-quoted passage. It amounts to a succinct but necessary sermon couched in a book review, and provides a neat summary of the reason why I've done what I've done, and why I aspire and endeavor to continue to do so. It's why I started in this line of work, and also why I launched this blog originally.
You'll find the WSJ review online here, though you might be asked to "sign in or subscribe" before you can read it. On my computer, I was; on my iPad via a social-media link, I was not. Your mileage may vary. And you can – and should – purchase the new anthology from Library of America, here. Alex Ross also turned in a lively review of the Thomson volume, available here on the New Yorker website. (Enthusiastically seconding Alex on an LoA series devoted to Andrew Porter, by the way.)
Bravo to Allan for the inspiring writing – wonderful just lately to witness the abundant vigor and missionary zeal of Kozinn unleashed! And to Tim as well, for a fundamental addition to any library of cultural chronicles.