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Requiem review was devoid of real feeling

I feel that Jacqueline Gottlieb's review of the MIT Choral Society's performance of Verdi's "Requiem" was inaccurate and devoid of feeling. My impression is that Miss Gottlieb was more concerned with artificial pseudo-intellectual criticizing typical of the art critic than in the music, the performance, and more importantly, the people who performed.

I find Miss Gottlieb's accusation of "superficial interpretation" extremely ironic and her statement that "`the force of the music and the performers should have been exploited with more energy and dedication" meaningless, even preposterous.

During the performance there was an old lady sitting next to me who had the score in her hands and was following it dilligently for two hours. Now and then she would glance around to see how she was impressing everybody with her musical expertise. During the forte she became very animated. I did notice one little thing. She had to look at the choir in order to know when to turn the pages. I felt like turning to her and saying, `You silly little lady, nobody cares whether you are a musical genius or not. Why don't you just relax and immerse yourself in the beautiful music." Somehow, Miss Gottlieb, you remind me of that little old lady.

I have listened to the greatest musicians and performances in the world, from San Francisco to Budapest. I take a holistic approach to art, never the reductionist viewpoint. The nature of real art precludes the latter. From my perspective, the Choral Society's performance, conducted by John Oliver, was magnificent. It was a flawless execution of a most difficult work showing a talent, competence, and dedication of the highest order. There may not have been any famous names there, nevertheless, I left with the impression that I had witnessed a masterpiece.

People are the ultimate judge of what is good and what is not. Critics rave about pieces of art that the rest of us recognize as garbage. It seems that in many cases, artists and critics of the twentieth century have lost themselves in a solipsistic world of delusion. Miss Gottlieb mentions a "too enthusiastic applause." She fails to mention that this just happened to be a ten minute standing ovation.

To the ladies and gentlemen of the Choral Society my heartfelt congratulations and admiration for your creation of beauty. Your performance was a demonstration of the magnificence of human life and what can be created when we work together as one.

Alexander F. Serenford '86->

(Editor's reply: The Arts editors support the quality and credibility of Jacqueline Gottlieb's Requiem review. Of course, everybody is entitled to his own opinion. But Serenford's criticism would do better to give precise, constructive arguments against the reviewer's statements, rather than resorting to personal attack.)