A “critic” is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased — he hates all creative people equally. – Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love
Your Wiccapundit was enjoying the following solo piano performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue by Jack Gibbons, who is renowned for his note-for-note transcriptions of Gershwin’s piano roll performances. It’s long, but it is so worth it.
This extraordinary performance (and even more extraordinary musical composition) lead me to think of one critic’s reception to the Rhapsody In Blue that was published the day after its debut performance.
How trite, feeble and conventional the tunes are; how sentimental and vapid the harmonic treatment, under its disguise of fussy and futile counterpoint! … Weep over the lifelessness of the melody and harmony, so derivative, so stale, so inexpressive!
Lawrence Gilman, New York Tribune, February 13, 1924.
Who is Lawrence Gilman, you say? A music critic and the composer of such musical masterworks as “A Dream of Death,” “The Heart of a Woman,” and “The Curlew,” all of which are lost in the mists of time, just as the memory of his existence is. As for Gershwin, his work is regarded as classic American music, and is still frequently played today.
When Gershwin died at the untimely young age of 38, the best-selling author John O’Hara said: “George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.”
Music critics. What a waste of space.