When you’ve been a critic as long as I have, you learn to cherish comments like this one (below). It’s in response to my recent review of “Elijah.”

“This reviewer follows the general rule of all reviewers: they are parasites with high verbal skills. This one feels he is a musicologist. I am not one, but I do know that Mendellssohn was responsible in his time for bringing Bach’s oratorios and the oratorio form back to life when it was generally viewed as a dead form. It is merely a different form. He cites three composers whose main compositions were operas, and then disparages Mendelssohn. I sang my first Elijah solos with John in the 70′s, as other of Mendelssohn’s oratorios, and to compare them with operatic composers is ridiculous. Handel wrote over 40 operas until they became old school, and he started writing oratorios. Bach’s oratorios were gathering dust until Mendelssohn brought them back to public view, and wrote his own. The tradition is very evident in his oratorios, and yet his lyric writing surpasses anything Bach wrote. Only Mendelssohn could have written what he did, just as Bach and Handel are their own creators. As for text, I doubt few libretti could ever stand up as prose, save the few that used Shakespeare plays as their basis. Verdi only wrote one major “oratorio” in his elder years, after many years of honing his talent. Mendelssohn died at a very young age. If the reviewer would have sung as many different oratorios by different older and contemporary composers as I and others have, including Dave Brubeck, he might have a more balanced perspective of the oratorio as a particular musical form, never meant to be opera, and never meant to be salon music as Chopin. PLEASE, spare us, Lord, from the ignorant tongues of reviewers.”

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