Monday, July 27, 2009

Two Losses in One Day

Having barely gotten over the news of the death of Merce Cunningham, I just read Joshua Kosman's obituary for Michael Steinberg on the San Francisco Chronicle Web site. Steinberg was music critic for the Boston Globe for almost the entirety of my student days at MIT. With his Princeton credentials (both bachelor's and master's degrees), there was little doubt that he was the best informed music critic in the Greater Boston Area; and, to invoke a phrase that only became cliché decades later, he could definitely be counted as "world class." Since my move to the Bay Area, I have always valued his contributions to San Francisco Symphony program books, even when I did not agree with them. For all the theoretical dispositions of his academic background, he wrote as one who appreciated Igor Stravinsky's distinction between listening and hearing, helping those of us who favored the former to the latter in our concert experiences. The best way to honor his memory will be for those of us still "in the game" to honor his approach to writing.

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