Music: Lexicon for Critics

Nicolas Slonimsky is a Boston composer and musicologist who long ago reached a firm conclusion about music critics: they have always had trouble getting used to new music. Scholar Slonimsky's further conclusion: modern critics are not nearly so vituperative about their dislikes as the oldtimers used to be.

For years, Slonimsky has amused himself by collecting the world's most angry comments about music since the days of Beethoven. This week he published nearly 300 pages of them in his Lexicon of Musical Invective (Coleman-Ross; $6).

Richard Wagner rates the fattest dossier in Slonimsky's book—27 pages. He was called, among other things, a Communist...

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