Thursday, August 4, 2016

Did Clara Schumann sacrifice her career to her family?

I’m currently in Syracuse, New York, getting ready to read a paper at a conference for the North American British Music Studies Association. (The paper is about an obscure 19th-century British composer named William Sterndale Bennett, and why he’s so obscure, even though this year is his bicentenary.) Last night, I was unwinding at my motel, and I came across this Tweet from University of Iowa musicologist Marian Wilson Kimber:
Familiar but inaccurate? Well, I can’t let something like that stand, even when I’m dealing with nausea on the other side of the country.

The original article is from the San Diego Reader, “Female composer Clara Schumann let her opinions be known” by Garrett Harris. He is woefully inept as a classical music critic. He first came on my radar when Byron Adams spite-shared a link to this review, which includes the sentence, “This is hard core impressionism and it’s not really easy listening even though there is a harp involved.” It gets worse. Will Robin directed me to Matt Marks's dramatic reading of one of Harris’s other reviews (NSFW language!). Harris is uninformed about the music he covers, but at least he’s also a terrible writer.