steven c wrote:

> Further, a critc, if honest, can only say "I like this performance
> better than that other one"...nothing less and nothing more! There
> is no definitive scale, at least an accurate one, on which
> musical performances can be ranked (with the possible exception
> of "good" and "incompetent" with the latter indicating a surfeit
> of errors in the playing, the recording or both)...

I disagree strongly. A critic can also provide objective information: 
the edition used, orchestration, pitch, and so on. Even on subjective 
matters, the review should be more detailed and more specific than an 
overall assessment, noting virtues and faults (in the critic's opinion) 
of each component of the performance.

There is a recent release of Die Fledermaus offering a supplement in 
which the conductor reasonably accurately describes the specifics of the 
Viennese waltz. (Forgive me for returning to the Subject of this thread. 
<G>) He then conducts in complete disregard of his own exposition. That 
assessment is largely objective, but it has a subjective element; 
another reviewer might not be sensitive to the non-compliance. While 
there is an absolute measure of pitch, real instruments (including 
voice) do not hold to a fixed frequency due to vibrato. So it is 
possible for the objective term "in tune" to have a subjective element - 
one reviewer hears a note as flat, another finds it within the range of 
acceptable pitch variation.

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