My first stint as a critic was with Fanfare, the "magazine for serious record collectors." It came about in an unusual way. In 1991, Fanfare asked readers to submit satirical critiques of nonexistent recordings. Employed at the time as a video-store clerk and proofreader of nuclear-power-plant operating manuals, I offered two reviews — one, of an hour-long Furtwängler performance of Brahms' Academic Festival Overture in wartime Berlin; the other, of an obscure British opera entitled The Gazebo of Ecstasy. To my amazement, Fanfare signed me up as a regular critic. You have to be acquainted with the zanier corners of classical connoisseurship to get the jokes, if indeed there are jokes to be got, but I am still fond of this, the Gazebo.