Music reviews are no longer relevant

Between the center and the periphery

Ideal and Reality: Fundamental to the relationship between music and criticism

by Rainer Nonnenmann

Anyone who does not enjoy music should not become a critic, he is a Philistine from the start.

Theodor W. Adorno 1

When and why is criticism of art music essential or peripheral? When does criticism belong as an indispensable essential part of art music, and when is criticism just a more or less entertaining, optionally nice or nasty, but ultimately dispensable addition that anyone interested in music can do without, as can the music itself? The central point of contention in the struggle between artist and critic is always - not only in this historical high phase of the aesthetic debate - the question of the sovereignty of interpretation: Who actually writes music history or the stories of music? Is it the innovative composer with his pioneering and benchmark-setting works, for whose implementation he sometimes also uses programmatic texts and self-comments? Or is it the significant critic whose judgment has a lasting impact on the reception or the appreciation or disregard of an oeuvre through access to high-circulation print media or prominent broadcasting slots on radio and television?

These are exciting and controversial topics. In the following, however, it is not about questions of power, but about whether and to what extent criticism and music are essential for and need one another, symbiotically as it were. One pole of this complex relationship can be quickly clarified: Without music, no criticism is possible, in other words: the relationship to music is absolutely essential for music criticism. The question of the extent to which music, and especially art music, is essentially dependent on music criticism is much more difficult. The historical conditions of the emergence of public music criticism in connection with the public musical life that emerged from the end of the eighteenth century are helpful in the search for answers. Some philosophical considerations that are relevant for writing and speaking about new music are also helpful, including in-depth musicological analyzes as well as music journalistic commissioned works, concert reviews, work commentaries, radio broadcasts, program booklet texts, composer portraits, etc. Because anyone who thinks about the relationship between criticism and art music should also think about music as art. And anyone who thinks about the artistic character of music has to broaden their historical horizons and realize that music has not always and everywhere been perceived as art, as we have come to assume. Ultimately, illuminating lessons can be drawn from a historical distance for the current situation of art music and music criticism, in which noble ideals collide with the many constraints of a mostly depressing reality. The following fundamental considerations are due to insights and practical experience that the author has gained since 2000 through his various activities both as a musicologist in research, teaching and journalism and as a music journalist for magazines, radio companies and from 2004 until today as a music critic for a Cologne daily newspaper could collect.

Difficulties: uncritical music (criticism)

The relevance of music criticism always corresponds to the respective music-historical dynamics. In the past, high phases of music criticism went hand in hand with the paradigm shift from vocal to instrumental music of the classical style as well as with the dramatically speaking, form-breaking and therefore particularly in need of interpretation works by Ludwig van Beethoven. The music criticism also experienced an upswing during the second half of the nineteenth century through the dispute over the direction between New Germans and Wagnerians on the one hand and classicists and Brahmins on the other. Music criticism apparently always gained in importance when it came to enforcing or combating musical upheavals or particularly polarizing approaches and artistic personalities or explaining them from a neutral point of view. This applies to the modernity of Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler around 1900 as well as to the Second Viennese School and its step into atonality as well as to Adorno's polarizing juxtaposition of “Schönberg and progress” versus “Stravinsky and the reaction” and the people of Darmstadt serial avant-garde after 1950. In the meantime, however, all these approaches and debates are a thing of the past.

Since the eighties it has been observed that although an infinite amount of new music is still being created, there is hardly any difference in demands, justification and quality between the different works, approaches, branches and sub-branches. As a result of the greatly expanded concept of culture and art in all media, there is hardly any distinction between high and sub-culture. The previously vertically differentiated, i.e. essentially hierarchical concept of art and culture gave way to a horizontally broadly dispersed polyphony, the different phenomena of which are seen as largely equal. Everything claims the same right to existence and attention alongside one another. The consequence of this equivalence is rampant indifference. Instead of quarreling about qualities, the argument is only about quantities. But where nothing stands out and polarizes, the debate also ebbs. The current discussion offers of some younger composers such as Patrick Frank, Johannes Kreidler, Martin Schüttler and others, who get lost in unproductive trench warfare and, contrary to their legitimate concern to anchor new music more firmly in society, do nothing to change this - especially on Considering self-profiling - generalizing polemics against the new music in general and in particular against some of its outstanding representatives such as Wolfang Rihm or Helmut Lachenmann actually only address the Inner Circle of New Music. As a result, these artists - often perceived more as authors than musicians - promptly only reaped resistance from specialist circles, such as music journalists such as Stefan Drees, Frank Hilberg, Bernd Künzig and others, who attempted a generalized reinterpretation or devaluation of the new music of the last forty Years contradicted.

The historically parallel development of public concert life and music criticism shows that music criticism is perceived to the extent that the music life it accompanies as a journalist reaches a large, opinion-forming public. Today, however, in many places new music does not find this public by itself. Conversely, music criticism rather serves to create this public for the new music in the first place. One reason for the lack of awareness of broad areas of the new music lies in its differentiation into countless branches and sub-branches through to individual private aesthetics of composers, interpreters, performers and sound artists, who are spread over small special festivals and venues in the off-scene. If music criticism tries to counteract this increasing fragmentation and the associated marginalization by making new initiatives, events, ensembles, composers, performers and works public to the largest possible public, this is mostly at the expense of criticism. Instead of a well-founded examination of a phenomenon, as required by quality journalism and musicology in equal measure, information is quickly and superficially gathered and passed on without criticism, which often enough hardly differs from advertising and talk. Uncritical music journalism, which is limited to everyday disinformation, platitudes, phraseologies and thoughtless empty formulas, is not a separate voice and authority that deserves to be heard, but only the extended arm of the partial interests of the organizers, producers, publishers, associations, institutions involved in music life , Agencies, composers, ensembles and performers. Consequently, it is not the qualitatively most important music that receives the attention it deserves, but the most aggressively advertised "product range" of the financially most potent organizers with the most powerful press and public relations work and the loudest and most eloquent networkers who create a public presence for themselves. The misunderstanding has long crept in among music organizers and - particularly alarmingly - even among music journalists that music reporting primarily serves to multiply the image, marketing and self-portrayal strategies of agencies and promoters, while real criticism is believed to be damaging to business.

Well-founded critical reception and interpretation of music is increasingly taking place under exclusion from the general public - as has been shown by observations from the author's practice in recent years. This is due both to the largely uncritical music criticism itself and to the fact that daily newspapers are rarely available for well-founded criticism. Quality journalism is a lot of work, takes time and accordingly costs money. But both are missing and are becoming increasingly scarce. The publishers, which are under economic pressure, are responding to the declining circulation and advertising income of their newspapers for years with drastic cuts, especially in the minority sector of art and cultural reporting. Editorial positions are being cut, fewer freelance music journalists are being employed and the same articles are being published in the media network of several newspapers or are being bought as cheaply as possible from press agencies. Fewer and fewer authors should always do more. And the inevitably increasing throughput volume among the authors necessarily leads to decreasing penetration, quality and diversity. At the request of the editors-in-chief, the remaining music editors should do everything themselves that is technically and temporally impossible, so that many events are no longer reported. CD pages with reviews of new publications appearing at regular intervals may only be created “cost-neutral”, that is, no longer by (even if sparse) paid freelancers, but only by in-house staff. In addition, concert reviews are increasingly being displaced by prior announcements and artist interviews about when which star violinist will be performing with which program in the city. Criticism, no matter how respectfully expressed, is not very opportune with this type of text, especially not if the publishing house in question is also interwoven with organizers, boards of trustees, city marketing or ticketing in terms of business or personnel. Finally, instead of local and regional cultural reporting, there is often a non-binding feature section with more or less culture-related topics from live style, fashion, politics, cuisine, cellar, wine, showbiz, personality, gossip and gossip. Allegedly, all readers are interested in this, and not just the few culture freaks who hardly make a difference when the newspaper is sold anyway.

New music and criticism get caught in a fatal downward spiral: the less the media report well-founded about new music, the less public it finds, the less it is considered relevant by the audience, organizers, donors and the media, the less it seems worth, the less it is if it is reported about it, the less presence it has in social discourse, the less interest it experiences ... and so on. The escalator down into insignificance is additionally driven by the fact that the quota thinking has long spread not only in radio and television, but also in the cultural reporting of daily newspapers and internet portals. The relevance of an event is no longer primarily measured according to its own significance, quality or uniqueness, but rather according to the size and prominence of the event or how much audience it is expected to reach. Instead of quality, mere quantity is decisive. Although daily newspapers continue to report fairly extensively about premieres and concerts by large opera houses and philharmonic orchestras, they are less and less about events from the independent scene in smaller venues, clubs, cultural centers, lofts and churches. If, as an exception, there is a report from there, then this usually does not happen in the features section or the culture section of the cover section of a newspaper, but also in mixed sections such as “Local” or “City Districts”. Beyond the mainstream, niche and minority programs, of all things, are losing their media publicity, which they especially need.

Music criticism, which is substantial in scope, level of reflection and analytical penetration, has been pushed out of the traditional media for years. While the silence of art and culture is rampant there, critical writing and speaking about music and especially new music is shifting to specialist magazines as well as certain broadcasting slots on the radio or special Internet forums that only address certain interest groups instead of the general public. In this way, the stylistic differentiation of musical life corresponds to a differentiation of music criticism into different manifestations and media. Increasingly excluded from traditional media - once central instruments of opinion formation - music criticism is gradually disappearing from public attention. It becomes just as peripheral and marginal as the art music it discusses, which like everything that deviates from the prevailing mass taste does not reach the “middle” or the majority of society, but inevitably remains a minority phenomenon. However, the relationship between criticism and art music remains essential in terms of its public appearance and perception. This is what the history of music criticism of the past two hundred and fifty years teaches.

Sisters in Spirit: Music and Music Criticism

As in some cultures today, music in Europe has been subject to various common and ritual contexts for centuries. Even music beyond entertainment and dance, which, according to its structure, had a clear artistic claim, primarily had a serving role: either in the church it served the preaching of God's word or at court the representation of princely power. Integrated into liturgical or clerical and feudal functions, music was only public to a limited extent. And its artistic character was only up for discussion because it was always listed and perceived in contexts in which it was ordered, paid and valued less according to aesthetic criteria, but rather according to how it fulfilled the tasks demanded of it by the church and court or not. In this context, criticism aimed at the artistic character of music was simply out of place. And consequently there was no public need for criticism.

Nonetheless, there have always been a tendency in composing to emancipate itself from non-musical concerns: this applies to the Ars nova and Ars subtilior of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as well as to the vocal polyphony of the Renaissance, the fugue art of the Baroque and even more so to the Classical and all subsequent epochs. Significantly, music reviews appeared in noteworthy quantity and quality only at the moment when a public musical life supported by the bourgeoisie was developing. The increasing number of public concerts and the growing general interest in music also increased the need for information about music over the course of the eighteenth century. Newspapers and first music magazines reported on composers, works, performers, venues, local and national schools and currents. The public need for information was additionally increased by the paradigm shift that occurred at the same time as the emergence of public musical life: away from the centuries-old primacy of word-determined, mostly clerical vocal music and courtly opera to pure instrumental music. By renouncing the setting of texts to music, the music lost its self-explanatory intelligibility, in which the listener served both the text as the key to the music and, conversely, the music as the key to the text.

Although the instrumental music of the Viennese classical period was dispensed with texts and voices, it was perceived as speaking and eloquent in a way that demanded interpretation. With Haydn, Mozart and, above all, Beethoven, instrumental music first needed commentary. It demanded analysis, explanation, exegesis, hermeneutics. In 1798 Friedrich Rochlitz and the music publisher Gottfried Christoph Härtel founded the “Allgemeine Musikische Zeitung” in Leipzig - one of the first magazines of its kind.In addition to general musical life, the most recent and, in the form of Haydn and Beethoven, still directly contemporary Viennese music should be discussed and enforced in the concert business as the “classical music” as which this canonized repertoire is valued and cultivated to this day. Beethoven came into the focus of music journalism, because his piano sonatas, symphonies and late string quartets broke in a revolutionary way with the previously established form and genre models and their harmonic, thematic and compositional canon of rules. Often perceived as a “scandal”, Beethoven's works were in greater need of explanation. What early romantics like Ludwig Tieck, Novalis or August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel formulated around 1800, especially with regard to poetry, namely that every work of art criticized the art that preceded it, was only exemplified in music by Beethoven. The tradition of the revolutionary break with tradition, which was already developed earlier in European art music, found here one of its most prominent examples.

The contemporary engagement with Beethoven - especially with the Ninth Symphony and the late string quartets - is characterized by helplessness, incomprehension and inappropriateness. Judgments of taste were formulated on the basis of stylistic standards that were still valid for Haydn and Mozart, but had been blown up and overcome by Beethoven.2 His compositions violated the conventional rules of classical voice leading, harmony, formation and instrument treatment and were given by "speakers" respectively "Art judges" judged or condemned accordingly. Measured against traditional norms, the works were accordingly misunderstood or completely misunderstood. But it is precisely in this non-understanding that - if you take a closer look - one aspect of the actual understanding of the otherness, originality, novelty and uniqueness of the works can be seen. This dilemma of contemporary Beethoven criticism offers some worthwhile lessons for dealing with all new music.

Using the example of Beethoven and the criticism of his revolutionary works, Theodor W. Adorno combined the idea of ​​the criticism of music through music with the idea of ​​the unfolding of the artistic and historical "truth content" of the works through their musicological and musicological theory - already developed by the early romantic theory of poetry music journalistic reception: “Criticism is inherent in the music itself, the process that objectively brings every successful composition as a force field to its resultant. Criticism of music is required by its own formal law: the historical development of the works and their truthfulness occurs in the critical medium. A history of Beethoven's criticism could show how, with each new layer of critical consciousness of him, new layers of his work revealed themselves, in a certain sense only constituted themselves through that process. ”3

Symbiosis: completion of the work of art through criticism

The early Romantics replaced the term "art judge", which was used up to now, with that of "art critic". Based on Immanuel Kant's “Critique of Pure Reason” and above all his aesthetic work “Critique of Judgment”, they understood criticism essentially reflexively. Art judgments should no longer be made by “judges” according to fixed codes of law with normative rules and principles, but rather according to the aesthetic experience and the reflective dialogue between the critic and the work of art. In addition, the early Romantics called for critical reflection on the conditions under which art judgments were made. In doing so, they followed Kant's critical principle, according to which there is no knowledge without self-knowledge of the knower. And as a correspondence to this principle, they understood - above all Friedrich Schlegel - the work of art itself as a kind of reflection, thus as a manifestation of thought and spirit. As a result, they understood the critique of art less as a reflection “about” art than as a development of the reflection already inherent in the work of art itself. Quoting Schlegel's “Critical Fragments”, Walter Benjamin wrote in his dissertation “The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism” in 1918/1919: “It is clear: for the Romantics, criticism is much less the assessment of a work than the method of its completion. In this sense, they have called for poetic criticism, removed the distinction between criticism and poetry, and maintained: 'Poetry can only be criticized through poetry. An art judgment that is not itself a work of art ... as a representation of the necessary impression in its becoming ... has no citizenship in the realm of art. ‘“ 4

Similarly, in his 1967 lecture “Reflections on Music Criticism”, Adorno spoke of the “neediness of works” for criticism and the contexts of their justification, so that the works develop their “essence” in time: “Works of art themselves are a process, and they develop their essence in time currently. It's procedural. The media of this artistic development are commentary and criticism. ”5 The romantic understanding of criticism as a medium for the completion of the work of art has far-reaching consequences, also and especially today for dealing with new music beyond traditional genres, materials, design and form categories. Firstly, there is no longer an objectively valid scale of values ​​for criticism, because its task is primarily to unfold the reflection that is already immanent in the work. Secondly, it follows from this that only genuine art, i.e. art that is reflexive in itself, is capable of criticism at all, while everything that is not in itself reflexive ultimately remains inaccessible to criticism and is simply not art. Only art can be criticized, and only that which can be criticized is also art in the sense of completing the reflection inherent in the work of art itself. Criticizability has become an essential quality criterion for art music. Friedrich Schlegel in particular considered the relationship between music criticism and art music to be essential: because only criticism brings the artistic character, that is, the immanent reflexivity of the work of art, to development. Thirdly, it follows from this that any criticism must first of all be immanently limited to the work of art and its own reflective movements and categories. This is particularly relevant for new music, which in the extreme case sets its own system of categories with each work, so that it is forbidden to judge a work on the basis of inadequate criteria and taste preferences, instead of the criteria and standards of the judgment from the inside out from the work of art itself to develop. Finally, fourthly, it becomes apparent that with the upgrading of criticism to its own form of art, art itself also became a critique of art. To put it pointedly, this is found in Schlegel's postulate: “Poetry can only be criticized through poetry.” 6

Adorno later took up the idea that works of art criticize other works of art in order to explain the historical dynamics of European art music. In his “Aesthetic Theory” he formulates: “The truth content of works of art is fused with their critical one. That is why they criticize each other. That, not the historical continuity of their dependencies, connects the works of art with one another; , a work of art is the mortal enemy of the other ‘; the unity of the history of art is the dialectical figure of certain negation. ”7 Adorno defined the artistic character of art essentially as a critique of art, which does not mean that art is only self-sufficient in referring to itself. In his “Philosophy of New Music”, as is well known, Adorno interpreted the autonomous movements of music with the assumption of a historically objectively necessary tendency of the musical material, which corresponds to general social developments. That is why music - as a medium of non-conceptual knowledge - not only says something about music, but also reveals something diagnostically about the state of the general consciousness of a society and epoch. The immanent criticism of the work of art called for by the early romantics thus expands from the inner penetration of the specific reflexivity of the work of art to the general social situation in which the work of art was created and to which, according to Adorno, it reacts - however it is conveyed

Maxim: dealing with new music

✐ If a music critic uses his system of categories formed through experience and knowledge to make a judgment about a musical phenomenon and also makes the standards of his judgment clear, even a misjudgment - as the contemporary Beethoven criticism shows - can be informative, albeit perhaps for the first time from some historical distance. A misjudgment also provides information about the relationship or mismatch between the horizon of norms and expectations of musical reception and contemporary compositional production. To do this, however, it is essential that the critic actually formulates a judgment and justifies it. Because only a judgment based on argumentation also reveals the standards on which it is based and, in turn, confronts itself and its standards with criticism: only genuine criticism is itself capable of criticism. Without criticism, on the other hand, any applause is worthless and without differentiated consideration, artistic work is abandoned to non-binding, so that at some point music can no longer take itself seriously. A real judgment is only possible - as Joachim Kaiser emphasized in his lecture “On the Practice of Music Criticism” in 1967 - as a combination of subjective experience and objective facts: “Because there are no binding rules […], the critic's reactions must be so important take, show their commitment […]. The moment a critic is just a reporter, of course, he has failed to meet the demands of the matter. At the moment when he only deals with a special aspect of the matter without informing who, what, why, he has evaded journalistic due diligence. ”9

✐ Because all works, values ​​and words have become historical and are subject to further change, music criticism is of course also a historical phenomenon that must self-critically measure and revise its prerequisites against current composition and interpretation practice. The criticism of new music on the basis of specific, specifically identified and historically reflected categories must - as the contemporary Beethoven criticism teaches - go hand in hand with the criticism of these historical categories on the basis of current music production, which may follow completely different categories. Because if it is true that the perception of art is inextricably linked with the art of perception, then the categories of both systems - art and perception - should be brought into harmony with one another as far as possible. Adorno put it this way: “The subjective reactions of the critic, which the critics themselves occasionally declare to be accidental in order to document their sovereignty, are not opposed to the objectivity of the judgment, but rather its condition. Without such reactions, the music is not experienced at all. It would be up to the critic's moral to raise the impression to objectivity through constant confrontation with the phenomenon. ”10 The guiding principle then also applies:“ Whoever is sure of himself should also say where he is unsure. ”11 An author can admit his lack of understanding in a way that promotes understanding.

✐ Consciously or unconsciously, evaluation categories such as originality, individuality, authenticity, coherence, intensity, conciseness (structural and expressive) and complexity (complexity) have an effect in every music review. These standards are very general, but can gain grip in individual cases. Above all, they are principally enough to be able to judge different phenomena as undogmatically as possible, from completed works of art to conceptual art, improvisation, installation, happenings and performance. The categories mentioned apply even where music deliberately sets itself apart from one or more of these categories, in that the music breaks with the innovation requirement in a particularly innovative way, is inconsistent in a coherent way, is unoriginal in its own way, in an individual way inauthentic or in complex in their simplicity or simple in their complexity. By allowing the categories of its own judgment to be recognized or even specifically thematized, music criticism is able to arouse readers and listeners' awareness that quality criteria are worth discussing. Music criticism thus ideally enables the reader to make their own judgment. After all, opportunities for orientation in the totally diversified and largely saturated cultural scene are more necessary than ever.

✐ Listening to music is a complex, multi-layered and multidirectional process that is aimed at the sounding object in the same way as it is at the hearing subject. This Janus-faced nature makes listening to music - as Helmut Lachenmann emphasized - a medium for existential world and self-experience. Since every attempt to grasp the world is made according to standards that our sensory perception and the way we listen to music as a whole follow, music offers the listener the opportunity to learn something about himself and his environment, especially about himself, while listening to music - and perception of the world by means of a system of categories which is decisively shaped by the society in which he lives and whose conventions, codes, reflexes, forms of communication and media influence him. Listening to music ideally expands into an act of reflexive self-positioning by people who have been enlightened about themselves and their dispositions and potentials. Music criticism is able to make such a positioning of the self and the world explicit through music. It is of secondary importance whether it is contemporary art music or early music, jazz, rock and pop music or whatever music. It is crucial that music has such an existential effect on the listener. If one thinks further about the concept of music, which was understood reflexively by the early romantics and Lachenmann alike, critical music journalism and musicology become an excellent authority that links music to general social discourse, especially music that does not seek direct engagement with society . Like art, criticism - however subliminal or demonstrative - is committed to enlightening, humanitarian ideals and always an objection to general social grievances, because as a yardstick and corrective you necessarily live a utopia - however reflected or diffuse - of a " more beautiful ”,“ better ”,“ truer ”life.

✐ Following Adorno, Albrecht Wellmer emphasized that all playing, interpreting and commenting on music includes the moment of reflection. Like all the arts, music has always been “imbued with concepts” and charged with “cosmopolitanism.” 12 Writing and speaking about music - hence the entire discourse in and about music - is the first to unlock the reflexivity that is inscribed in music. Aside from the music itself, there is nothing more lively and more productive for the further development of musical life than the respectful and open discursive discussion of new music. Like music itself, music criticism is entertainment in the best sense of the word, that is, dialogue between music and listeners / readers as well as stimulating dialogue between listeners / readers and musicians with and with one another. Where substantial music criticism still reaches broader audiences and (cultural) political decision-makers, it must convey through the intensity of its intellectual debate that new music is not about preserving the private property of a sworn insider community, but about an essential core of sentiment - and spiritual life of our community, namely about the critical self-reflection of society in dealing with the unfamiliar, the different, the new, the alien. But where music disappears as an object of public interest in perception and conversation, as is currently happening in many places, sooner or later the very existence of the music itself is threatened. 13

✐ In current discussions of music from the past, Beethoven's “case” translates into the demand that this historical music should also be identified as the new music of its time. A “masterpiece” that has solidified into a canonized stock in the repertoire would have to be described again in its original modernity and singularity - or also conventionality and conformity - in relation to the musical and extra-musical conditions of its time by discussing the specific conditions of its creation. Adorno emphasized: “The ability to discover problems where the general awareness of oneself is wrongly certain is one of the essential tasks of criticism.” 14 And it goes on: “...the task of the critic would be to translate the musical work from a congealed, hardened, petrified state back into the force field that each, and each performance, really is. That alone, not the so-called temperament of the critic, sufficed for the concept of living criticism. ”15 If the“ classics ”were described from the perspective of new music, they would no longer remain the lifeless inventory of a sounding museum reified as an object, its well-known “Masterpieces” can only be misunderstood - as Wolfgang Rihm once said - as “natural”. In view of the omnipresence of traditional music in our present, perspectives on the music of the past as the new music of that time should be understood as a plea to today's audience not only to listen to the beloved old repertoire, but also to support the new music of interested today. Because if you don't want to know anything about new music, you fail to recognize that old music was once the new music of its time. And vice versa: if you want to talk about new music, you shouldn't be silent about old music.

An outlook: between the periphery and the center

Despite all the difficulties of the current situation and despite all justified complaints about the "crisis of music criticism" - which, however, was diagnosed in the almost "golden" sixties from today's perspective - funeral chants to the end of critical writing and speaking about new music are wrong on the place. Because as long as people are enthusiastic about art music and understand it as a medium of existential self and world experience, there will also be people who understand themselves and want to make other people understand what and how and why this music is as it is. And as long as authors have such an impulse to want to understand and communicate, they will - albeit on an increasingly precarious economic basis - find the necessary formats and media or - as the example of music texts shows - create them themselves, regardless of it whether it can reach a broad audience or only minorities. Even on the fringes of society - sometimes precisely there - facts can be uncovered that hit society in the heart and wake it up. Because the critical examination of art, music and art music is always a form of critical examination of society. Therefore, at the end of the day there is no obituary for the death of the music criticism, which has been dying in many places, but an offensive invitation to sound music journalism associated with some advice.

All journalistic and scientific writing and speaking about new music presupposes the ability to have a listening experience. And this includes several things that can be ideally thought, but in the daily practice of criticism, journalism, research and teaching - to assume otherwise would be naive - can hardly ever be preserved in their pure form, namely: openness, curiosity, lack of prejudice, freedom from resentment and personal considerations, economic and intellectual independence, personal sympathy as well as love and passion for music paired with critically observing distance. An author should experience music freely and openly, relying on his own sensitivity and experience, if possible without outside control, and comment on it independently. For this he needs the ability and the intellectual desire to verbalize the music and his musical experiences, i.e. to say something about music as accurately as possible and not to resort to mere externalities. Well-founded journalistic and scientific writing and speaking about new music therefore requires the possibility of properly researching and reproducing objectifiable facts and circumstances, as well as recognizing backgrounds and contexts, in order to be able to identify the works, theories or in question with the most reliable information possible and without speculation First of all, to measure events immanently against their own demands and, if necessary, to allow the discrepancy with what has actually been achieved to flow into the assessment. In a second step, the recorded facts can then be classified, contextualized and compared and checked for their originality and quality through counter-theses and alternatives in order to finally formulate an argumentative judgment on this basis, with which the author stands up in public and himself who can face criticism. Here we go!