in: Reviews

January 3, 2012

From the Editor


The two performances from Boston Baroque that end one year and bring in the next have become a tradition; and this year, as the second one, on New Year’s Day, was to be broadcast by WGBH with announcer Cathy Fuller, I decided to send reviewers to both performances. My second reason is that live performances of the same program, even within days of each other, vary — as BMInt readers know from discussions herein of WGBH’s controversial decision to eliminate a second broadcast of the subsequent Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. A third reason is that reviewers might offer complementary, even somewhat contradictory, viewpoints. To keep the enterprise “honest,” neither reviewer knew there was to be another one. I do find that the following two reviews complement each other, to the readers’ benefit. Let us know what you think of the practice of multiple reviews of concerts.

Bettina A. Norton is a retired museum professional. She has published widely in her field, American historical prints, and has been attending classical music concerts since the waning years of World War II.


  1. I love hearing different perspectives, so the more reviews, the better! It benefits the reader and keeps the reviewers sharp.

    Comment by mike — January 5, 2012 at 12:12 am

  2. I prefer two independent reviews over one, without any doubt.

    Comment by Petros Linardos — January 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

  3. In principle, two reviews may not be a bad thing, but in practice I have some misgivings.

    Awkwardness.  What does it say to a reviewer when his/her editor in effect says, “Were not sure that your review will be enough, so we’ll have someone else there and hopefully somehow between the two of you our readers will be adequately served?” Also, if there are strongly differing opinions, does it cause bad feelings more than if the differences came to light through comments?

    Coverage. If two reviewers are available, why not have one of them cover some other event? Are there times when there isn’t another event worth reviewing? (I know that BMInt. reviews multiple concerts at any given time, but aren’t there always more; aren’t there always performances that don’t get reviewed?)

    Need. At least in the instance of Boston Baroque, there was a review in the Boston Globe, and for aught I know there were reviews in other publications as well. I think it likely that most of the concerts you’d deem worthy of double coverage are the ones that will be reviewed elsewhere, thus eliminating the need for BMInt. to provide the second opinion.

    Agreement. I didn’t analyze the reviews with a view to teasing out differences of opinion. It seemed to me that they covered the same ground and were generally in agreement. This is the other side of the coin from “Awkwardness.” When the reviewers don’t disagree, how important are the subtle differences of detail?

    Comment by Joe Whipple — January 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

  4. I think the problem in here with misapplied semantics.  It is kind of funny for me to pontificate about written semantics but bear with me.

    The biggest problem is that BMI would like to call and to treat the articles they post as “reviews”. They call them “reviews” and the attribute to those “reviews” some kind of superior meaning. Yes, there were some brilliantly written concerts after-thoughts posted in here sometimes, there were some very in-depth observations made as sometime and there were some hallucinationary articles posted, more remaining not the reflection of somebody though process but delayed box-office infomercials.  I do not build the hierarchy of “reviews” and I do not take one over another. Those all reviewed do reflect us – different people with different perceptions. Some of us even so sick the prefer dogs over Cats and vote republican. Well, no one perfect…

    What however I would like to avoid is do not call those events of linguistic expressions that BMI posts as “reviews”. Concerts, artist and fellow concert goers do not need somebody to “review” the concerts. They would like hear someone share their thoughts, sentiments, feedbacks or associations that the participants of the concerts were inspired.  However, no one needs to read “the review”, and particularly one single “review’ that pretends to be a “definitive review”. I think the sooner we all stop to call what we read as “reviews” the better it will be for all of us.

    I do not see any problems withmultiple reviews of concerts. I see a problem with a single review that was not objected.

    Comment by Romy The Cat — January 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

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