Norman Scribner, hail and farewell


Norman Scribner in 1990. (Photo by John McDonnell/TWP) (Courtesy TWP Archives) (John McDonnell/TWP/John McDonnell/TWP)

Katherine Boyle wrote a wonderful profile of Scribner in Sunday’s Washington Post.

And I reviewed his final concert, the Brahms Requiem, on Sunday afternoon.

I seem to have been raising a lot of questions in public this week about the limitations and concerns of writing performance reviews. It’s true I could have written a straight review of Sunday’s concert, picking apart Scribner’s technique and/or interpretations, criticizing the soprano for being too cool, jumping on perceived sloppinesses, or granting kudos for moments that did work. I said in the review that I didn’t feel that kind of taskmistressing evaluation was an appropriate response to give a man who is taking leave of his life’s work, and I stand by that decision strongly. I’m intrigued to see that some of the people who read the piece feel otherwise.

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.

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