As a teenager on the third
world, I started listening to western classical
music on a tiny transistor radio. Fortunately
we had relays from the BBC in its glory days.
So, like a blackbird, I listened to everything,
from early music to the most up to date contemporary
art music. I learned to listen without prejudgment,
without following fashion. Having nothing
but the music to connect to, I "really"
learned to listen and try to understand. It
was unique, if unconventional, training. Gradually
I gravitated towards song, which is perhaps
my speciality, but I've never ceased to listen
My experiences influence the reason I review.
Composers and performers do what they do because
they are artists, creating music from their
interaction. Listening to music is like listening
to a conversation. For me, a reviewer's role
is to understand that conversation and express
it for others in such a way as to get readers
thinking and listening for themselves. I write,
not for myself, but to try and give back to
others what the music has given me.