"Amateur", it is worth remembering, derives from the Latin verb "to love". Wall St Journal theatre critic Terry Teachout reflects on the decline of newspaper arts criticism through the 20th century. We can't remember now, he says, "a time when newsprint was dirt-cheap and stylish arts criticism was considered an ornament to the publications in which it appeared. In those far-off days, it was taken for granted that the critics of major papers would write in detail and at length about the events they covered."
No, we can't... The article is mainly a clear-eyed but fond tribute to Neville Cardus, the now forgotten music critic (and sports writer) for the Guardian through a large part of the 20th century. He was, according to Teachout, a half-century too late: the perfect critic for Romanticism, the 20th century revolution in music left him cold, and finally left him out. But Teachout persuasively argues Cardus's responsiveness to and love of the art, and comments: "something vital disappears from criticism when its practitioners are unwilling to approach music in this way".