The Art of the Music Critic


Max Stern, DMA – Ariel University, Ariel, Israel; The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, Israel

Series: Fine Arts, Music and Literature
BISAC: MUS020000; MUS054000

“Max Stern’s passion and knowledge of music shines through in this comprehensive compilation that also serves as a treasured historic document about Israel.” – David Brinn, Managing Editor, The Jerusalem Post

“This fascinating collection of music reviews over many years by an outstanding musicologist, Max Stern, is a veritable textbook of how to make aesthetic judgments. This author is blessed with an appealing writing style, imposed by humility and decency. You don’t have to know much about music to enjoy, admire, and learn from this book.” – Jerome Gellman, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University, Israel

This book attempts to illuminate and define the many criteria of music criticism in their aesthetic, social, historical, and cultural contexts.

Music criticism is an art that balances perception with knowledge – intuition with understanding, critical analysis, and judgement.  It is an aesthetic pursuit directed to the varied worlds of sound experience, and it is distinct from its more highly profiled cousins: art criticism (which focuses on the many aspects of the visual), and literary criticism (in relation to language and the word).

While the attention of the music critic is primarily directed towards music and musicians, the critic’s outreach encompasses dimensions over and beyond the intricacies of musical composition to reviews of concert performances, previews and summaries of cultural events and festivals, CD reviews, and book reviews along with topics of social relevance. Sometimes external events enter the picture and impinge upon concert life, while historic controversies may emerge as issues that call for our response. In addition, manifold aspects of personalities, biographies, commemorative notices, and obituaries need to be addressed.

Because music criticism is a subjective art, opinions and facts often interact and overlap. Nothing is ever absolute or unequivocal. Nonetheless, let us move forward in search of objective paradigms for evaluating the vast and wondrous phenomenon known as the ‘World of Music.’

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Table of Contents



Orchestral Concerts

Concert Roundups – Israel Philharmonic / Jerusalem Symphony / Israel Sinfonietta

Choral Music

Guest Conductors


Soloists, Conductors and Orchestras

Regional Orchestras and Ensembles

Historical Composers – Pantheon of Celebrated Masters

Contemporary Composers – International and Israeli Composers

Israel’s Popular-Folksong

Creative Influences

Articles – Composers / Music Directors

Liturgica – Sacred Choral Music Festival


Zimriya Choral Festival

Children’s Choirs

Youth Concerts and Young Artists

Israel Festival

Chamber Music and Other Festivals

International Competitions – Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition / International Harp Contest

Chamber Music

Opera And Musical Theater


Russian Aliyah Musicians – Newcomers from The Former Soviet Union

Miscellaneous – Events / Concerts / Previews / Articles

CD Reviews

Book Reviews

Around the World – Visits, Articles and Reviews


Holocaust and Music

Homage and Memorial


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