There's been some debate in one or two threads here recently about the fairness of reviews of CDs and concerts. There is certainly a need for more honesty in reviews - I for one am heartily tired of reading the "a most pleasing concert" sort of review, which manages to avoid the mildest criticism, even when the performance is dreadful. So savage reviews, when they come, shine out like a beacon of truth. A recent example was 4BarsRest's review of that European Gala concert in which Maurice Andre made a dog's breakfast of the Hummel concerto. And, to brighten up the end of the week, here are some extracts from an older and very entertaining review which was brutally honest. To add some intrigue, I have made a few slight changes to the text and replaced names with letters of the alphabet which would give away what the event was and who the artistes were. I shall let you guess for a bit, then reveal all! For reference, A and D are performers, E is a composer and B, C and F are pieces of music. I have sat through some tedious concerts, but this one has to take the biscuit for outstanding awfulness. If its organisers had lined up at the foot of the (stage) to express their regrets and hand back ticket money, and then to cover themselves in wet ashes - really, it wouldn't have been enough. The evening began inauspiciously with an untidy fanfare.......thereafter the conductors swept on and off ... in a series of pieces memorable only for the added degrees of numbing boredom that they imposed. In the first half, (the music) rapidly induced a desire for an early night; a lady (next to me) slept soundly until the interval. Only the soprano cornet solo played by A encouraged thoughts of soldiering on into Part 2. Nor can anything polite be said about the lack-lustre suite B that ground relentlessly to half-time. Just say that it should never have been put on the programme......... ....the finale C gave the enthusiast-crowd something to clap, and they made the most of it. So much so, at the end of the concert, that there could have been a danger of the organisers interpreting it as a generous approval of the evening as a whole - a possibility that needs firm rejection. In between, we were treated to some very ragged playing (whatever the trombones were doing, they shouldn't have been snoozing like the rest of us), and an interlude by D that I feel sure the great man will wish quickly to forget. Again, it was a 'first performance' (a signal, in many a band programme, to anticipate something of monumental dreadfulness), D being invited to make something listenable out of a thing by E called F. I imagine that many people have by now told E that this is a fine addition to the repertoire. I should like to be an exception and confirm to him that it is a load of codswallop that is unlikely ever to be played again and which left D in the embarassing situation of being a performer who received more applause before he played that after. Sad. Why should anyone want to hear a superb musician spit and squirt his way through an inconsequential number that could equally be sent on its way to oblivion by any principal in any National Finals band? Sorry if all this sounds frightfully bad-tempered. Thing is, my seat was free, and I left it feeling disappointed and let down. Hundreds more, like the lady who slept, had to pay.