"...In some ways, the enterprise of music criticism is like architecture, or fashion, in that most of us tend not to notice it unless it’s really bad, which is quite often, or really good, which is exceedingly rare. ...It takes a person of special warmth and eloquence to communicate why a piece of art or music is worth your effort, even if it appears to be inscrutable on first or even fifth encounter. This is what the best critics do: inform and instruct, yes, but also enthuse, encourage, inspire, and evangelize. They make us wish we knew well the work of art that the critic thought worthy of praise, and in so doing, push us to become more curious, hungry, and open to unfamiliar stimuli."
Read the rest here: Michael Steinberg: An Appreciation .