Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It's perfectly right to suspect emotion when we ought to let reason rule. However, not least since Daniel Goleman coined the term emotional intelligence the general prejudice against emotion has generally been given up. Why then do critics always take offense when my shows get sentimental? My goal as a a musical librettist is to elicit emotion. I'm satisfied if I see the audience touched, moved, stirred. I want them to laugh and shed tears. While laughter is mostly tolerated, tears usually irritate critics. With a loud groan they complain: Kitsch! While I confess that I may sometimes fail, I know that the audience is very well able to distinguish between real and false emotion. I readily accept their verdict, knowing that Kitsch is never enough.


  1. Maybe they have learned that tears are a sign of weakness and therefore they reject it. That's pretty common ...

  2. Kitsch as Kitsch can.
    What is Kitsch in fact? Most people admire Rachmaninov’s music. But when a today’s musician composes exactly in the way as Rachmaninov did (most film and musical composers do), many people would estimate this music Kitsch. What’s about Sondheim. No Kitsch? Because we don’t understand? Conservatory’s students would easily find Sondheim’s elements of Kitsch, I’m sure. What about Michael Reed, when he very frequently uses the method of key alteration in order to intensifying emotions? Which quantity is acceptable?

  3. That fits:
    My favorite song (music and choreo!) was the proclamation of the 10 commandments. And guess how yesterday’s NZZ Online judges this song: Kitsch.

  4. What if a critic's drivel makes you cry? Is that Kitsch, too?