Last month, Chloe Veltman and Brian Rosen talked on her radio show about bad music and a supposed general reluctance to criticize classical music. Now, I don't think I agree with the thesis that people are just unwilling to say any particular piece of classical music is bad or doesn't work or whatever; one need only glance at A Lexicon of Musical Invective or reviews of new music to see plenty of negative opinions. But Chloe then offered up Le Martyr de Saint Sebastien as an example of bad music. A rather entertaining discussion ensued, because one of Chloe's readers thinks the Janacek Sinfonietta is bad music. Say what?
I mixed it up elsewhere a few years ago with him, and he comes across here (as he did then) as a troll; unwilling to provide support for his opinions, unwilling to do a little research on his own; stating opinion as fact; unwilling to respond in full to any points made by others. So I dropped out fairly soon.
But there are real problems in trying to label music as "bad," and anyway, why would you want to? Is the music uninteresting? Ineffective? Derivative? Lacks originality? Ugly? Boring? The specific reasons why a piece doesn't work are always going to be more interesting than saying "it's bad," and they're certainly what I want to hear from a commentator.