In the new issue of Standpoint magazine, out now on newstands, I examine the phenomenon of musical negativity. Why is it that musicians and music lovers are so disparaging of success, why so envious, so mean-spirited?
Painters, writers, even actors, make some show of generosity to colleagues. Musicians do not. Dancers are the most considerate of artists, ever concerned to protect each other from injury. Musicians, at the merest hint of false intonation, turn a freezing glare on the hapless offender in the ensemble, reducing him or her to a nervous wreck.
Ardent listeners take their cue from the professionals. Eavesdrop on the crowd leaving the opera house after a magnificent performance and you’ll hear less talk of the vocal glories than of the fluffed second-act entry in the woodwinds. BBC Radio 3 put up an online message board at the dawn of the internet. It was shut down after a daily deluge of abuse aimed at practically every presenter and performer on the network. The silenced carpers promptly started an independent forum, Friends of Radio 3 (FoR3) — a less friendly bunch of people you will struggle to find this side of the Islamic Caliphate.
There is a reason, there are several. If you want to read more, you’ll need to click here.