Over the past week, the comeback singer has won five-star reviews and general beatification in the British press.
With one exception.
The viola player Bill Hawkes wrote this sour note to the Guardian:
I played viola on Kate Bush’s last LP, and laughed myself silly at her nonsensical lyrics about snowmen. The obsequious, unquestioning critical acclaim heaped upon this manifestly overrated singer is rather depressing, and summed up by your reviewer (Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo, 27 August) when he describes an audience who “spend the first part of the show clapping everything; no gesture is too insignificant to warrant applause”. Enough said.
Such slights do not go unanswered. Five subsequent letters in the Guardian heap (mostly) scorn on the ‘curmudgeonly’ Mr Hawkes.
And the composer Michael Nyman adds a gloss on his Facebook page:
My one experience of working with Kate Bush – a string sextet arrangement of Reaching Out on the Sensual World album – would, I thought be pretty brief. I told the players, who I believe may have included Bill Hawkes, that they would probably be out of the studio in 25 minutes or so as the arrangement was quite simple and would be lost in a rich texture that had already been recorded. Instead of which Kate impressively used the whole 3 hour session to micromanage the arrangement, the performance, the recording and the mix with scrupulous attention to detail than I have ever given to recording my own music.