Critical condition:

A Cecelia Hopkins Porter
(“The Florence Foster Jenkins of Music Criticism”)


  • Reviewing, if it is only a description of obvious outward features of a composition or mere reporting of ‘what it was like to be there’, will remain shallow unless the critic's arguments are based on a consistently upheld set of musical criteria and an understanding of music as a social force rather than a pleasant social custom or pastime... The act of translating from a musical to a verbal mode of thinking ought to be, for both the critic and his reader, an experience almost as profound and vital as the experience of the music itself, and the best music criticism reveals this clearly. In other words, the critic should be an artist in his or her own right.

    — Bojan Bujic, from The Oxford Companion to Music

  • The musicians jabbed merciless bows into the pathos of the middle movement, rendering it an essay in unbearable beauty that ended in the sublime introspection of the wrenching Andante.

    — Cecelia Hopkins Porter, Washington Post music critic and logorrhea poster-child, on a performance of Prokofiev's String quartet no.1, op. 50.

  • Even the funereal pace and fugal whispers of the Allegretto were but breathers, albeit wondrous, before Temirkanov's high-octane charge through the following movements altogether fit for its premiere in a Vienna ripe for festal release from its Napoleonic fetters.

    — A ripe Cecelia Hopkins Porter releases festally over Beethoven's 7th symphony.

  • The Mozart is a delirious maelstrom of wrenching pathos that draws you into its whirling twists of unease... While preserving its primordial bliss, Herbig gave (Schubert's 6th symphony) a studied nonchalance that seemed to waft in from Vienna's breezy Alpine foothills and filtered through the hazy tints of Bohemian melancholy.

    — The deliriously wrenching maelstrom of studied nonchalance that is Cecelia Hopkins Porter.

  • The tonguing wizardry of a Saint-Saens morsel led to some Bartok cameos capturing the rhythmic asymmetries and black despair of Eastern European peasants.

    — Cecelia Hopkins Porter's take on the poor, the depressive, and the asymmetrical.

  • Kalichstein dove into Bach's frenzied roulade of embellishments in fast forward, and negotiated Liszt's crazed mingling of the exotic Iberian theme whirling in a wild tempest of Hungarian idioms.

    — Yet more Cecelia Hopkins Porter (... and I'd like a second helping of that frenzied roulade, please)

  • In the Allegretto, the pianist's keen articulation and supple legato produced a fully percussive yet finely etched keyboard contribution, while a bluesy Gershwinesque tang suffused the Adagio, with Vedernikov's ruminative response hinting delicately at resignation.

    — In her column, the reviewer's turgid prose and slavish addiction to vapid metaphor produced a morbidly verbose yet intellectually vacuous literary coprolite, while an unctuously Hanslickian self-regard suffused the report, with the Post's puzzling lack of oversight hinting tragically at editorial indifference.

  • "Carmina" (Burana) . . . always strikes this writer as appealing chiefly to humanity's more bestial ur-rhythmic impulses.

    — Calling Dr. Freud, calling Dr. Freud.

  • Grant's music seems a series of musical cliches meandering nowhere...

    — Cecelia Hopkins Porter, oblivious to the irony.