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ERIC Number: EJ790090
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
The Music Criticism and Aesthetics of George Bernard Shaw
Gates, Eugene
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v35 n3 p63-71 Fall 2001
Most people know George Bernard Shaw as a dramatist and social reformer, but they are often surprised to discover that he was also the most brilliant British music critic to emerge in the late-nineteenth century. His vision of the ideal critic was not a passive reporter of musical events, but rather a vital and initiating force within the music community. He also believed that the newspaper critic was primarily an educator, and he recognized that even the musically uninitiated could be charmed into learning, if music criticism were made both intelligible and entertaining. This article describes how Shaw had been a radical voice in late nineteenth-century music criticism. His great love of musical perfection and his irrepressible zest for life permeate every page of his critical writings. He based his judgments not only on his remarkable musical knowledge, but on the extent to which he had enjoyed a performance. This very personal approach to music criticism was a radical departure from the sterile, esoteric discussions of fugal expositions, development sections, canons, and codas that had traditionally been inflicted upon British newspaper readers. It is therefore hardly surprising that musical academics saw him as a madcap Irish journalist who was little acquainted with the niceties of the art about which he wrote. He was heartily disliked by most critics and musicians, and adored by his general readers. (Contains 9 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom