A few days ago we received an eMail from an S&F reader that, in sentiment, echoed a number of eMails we've received over the years which eMail we reproduce below with the writer's permission but which writer prefers to remain anonymous and so the writer's name has been redacted. We reproduce this eMail because, as we indicated, it's representative of a number of others and we think it deserves public answer.
I've been reading Sounds and [sic] Fury for several years now, mostly because I like the way you write, but I think that's going to stop now as I still don't understand your blog's purpose. It's short on information but long, very long, on criticism, especially against the work of print classical music critics, yet you never post reviews of your own. In fact you've admitted to not attending live performances of concerts or operas for decades now, and even seem to brandish that as some kind of mark of distinction. Even when you write about televised opera performances or DVD or YouTube recordings of performances you still don't do actual reviews but comment in a general way about some aspect or other of the productions, mostly about the stagings which you almost always hate. It's getting to be more than a little annoying and I don't need to come here to be annoyed. I commend you for your writing skill, but other than that, reading Sounds and [sic] Fury is getting to be a waste of my time. Sincerely,Honest, straightforward, and right to the point, and we mean to answer in kind. First off, and perhaps most important of all, S&F is NOT written to be informative or for the delectation of others. It is written for ourself alone to provide us "a more satisfying alternative to arguing with and raging at insensate objects such as books, newspapers, magazines, CDs, [DVDs,] computer displays, and TV sets in respect of their wrongheaded, in-error, or otherwise imbecile content," as we once (but apparently not often enough) put the matter some years ago. It's always gratifying to learn that others find S&F worthwhile reading but that's nothing more than a mere side benefit for us. If we wrote S&F to be informative and for the delectation of others we would, of course, insist on being paid meaningful amounts of hard cash for our efforts as writing the blog gratis in that case would make us little better than Dr. Johnson's blockhead. And in that, you have as well your answer as to why we don't do actual reviews on S&F (although we've made rare exceptions to that rule in the past). Doing a proper review is bloody hard work and unrewarding in itself (not to even mention the trouble and expense of attending a live event when required) and none but a slave works for no pay justly commensurate with the time, talent, and expense involved. Lastly, we don't at all mean to "brandish ... as some kind of mark of distinction" our nonattendance in the last couple decades or so of live concert and opera performances. It's merely a fact of life for us due to constraints financial and logistical. The only exception to that is the case of performances of known Eurotrash stagings of canonical operas which performances we would never attend were we a multimillionaire and the opera house immediately next door our abode both as a matter of principle and because one's attendance at such performances serves only to fatten the wallets of and encourage the perpetrators. We trust you will find the above response to your correspondence as honest, straightforward and to the point as that which occasioned it, and we thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.