Criticising the critics 3: the wife who piped up, then piped downmain
Regional orchestras like the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic get very little coverage in the UK national press. So credit to the Telegraph for occasionally publishing a review of this effervescent ensemble with its going-places conductor, Vasily Petrenko. The Telegraph cannot, of course, afford to send a critic from London so it relies on an academic from Manchester, David Fanning, who is knowledgeable and often shrewd, except for several bees about Shostakovich under his bonnet.
This week, he had a bad night. He hated the concert, the audience, the conductor, the world (it happens on wet nights in Liverpool) and declared the ovation ‘undeserved’. He even wondered whether the Russian conductor had become ‘too English’ for Shostakovich. Read his review here.
The orchestra, understandably upset, posted the review on its facebook page and asked members of the audience what they thought. Most disagreed with the review. Some disparaged the critic.
At which point Mrs Fanning stepped in with a few choice words of her own. Then she, or others, took them down. I wonder why.
I see no reason why a reviewer’s spouse should have to bite his or her tongue. Let’s hear it from the silent minority. It all adds to the gaiety of nations.