As of this week, Lebrecht Album of the Week will appear on two additional outlets. For that reason, among others, I decided to give some indication of how a reviewer’s mind works. Here goes:
Let me take you into the process by which new releases get selected for review – at least by me who for years has reviewed just one album a week. The process is not scientific, but I’ll describe it as best I can. Monday morning, I face two towering piles of CDs.
First, I reject the known knowns — famous artists recording familiar repertoire, and probably not for the first time. They won’t have much to say that changes the state of my world.
Then it’s the turn of the unknown unknowns, where both the composer and artist are extremely obscure and neither has the weight to advocate for the other. Sorry, but no.
Next to go are artists who have failed to impress me in the past. I don’t see the point of wasting my platform on dismissive reviews, so listening to a voice that I have previously found unappealing does no good either to me or to the performer.
Finally, there are whatever boundaries I have set myself within a particular time frame. In the three months of COVID, I decided to review only music from the late-20th and early 21st century, not out of masochism but because this is a marvellous opportunity to expose myself and my readers to repertoire that lies outside the regular concert tramlines.
That said, this week, I am breaking two of my rules….
Read on here.