Anthony Plog on Music
Conversations with performers, composers, and entrepreneurs
Anne Midgette, Former Music Critic and Reviewer for the Washington Post & New York TimesAnthony Plog, host
Eddie Ludema, producer
Date posted: May 6, 2023
Anne Midgette was the music critic for the Washington Post for eleven years, and for seven years before that was a regular contributor to the New York Times. She is the author of two books on music, The King and I, about the relationship between Luciano Pavarotti and his manager, Herbert Breslin, and My Nine Lives, with the pianist Leon Fleisher. She is currently working on a historical novel about Nanette Streicher, the woman who built pianos for Beethoven. Oh, and she has also written some travel books! So who better to ask about what it is like to be a music critic and her life in the arts?
We begin with my asking Anne Midgette about her (at least to me) unique view on the purpose of a music critic. We then talk about what a normal day might look like and about the pressure of writing music reviews with incredibly quick publishing deadlines. Ms. Midgette is well known for her articles having to do with the MeToo problem in classical music, which we discuss in depth toward the end of this episode.
Part 2 of our discussion deals with the books "The King and I", and "My Nine Lives". We talk about what it was like to work with Herbert Breslin and Leon Fleisher, both towering but very different figures in the music business. This leads to a short discussion about interpretation, and we end with Anne talking about her current project, a book of historical fiction about the person who built pianos for Beethoven, Nanette Streicher.
In the Bonus Room we discuss the idea of using social media to build a career in music, and from there we move on to the subject of the interpretation of Baroque music... authentic instruments and phrasing vs. modern instruments and phrasing. And we end with Anne's optimistic take on the future of classical music... "The music is just fine."
The podcast theme music, Four Sierra Scenes, written by Anthony Plog, is taken from Crystal Records S205, copyright ©1980 Crystal Records Inc., and is used by permission. Unauthorized duplication is not permitted.