Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Classic cuts

Joe Queenan finishes his witty classical primer (an A to Z) this week. If you don't know much about classical, and want to read someone who does, and has opinions that he is not afraid to share, this is for you. Actually, there may yet be a Y and Z, but anyway.

Me, I'm an unreconstructed Philistine, I'm afraid. I knows what I likes and I likes what I knows. I tend to prefer the more cerebral but simple to the florid, so a lot of what Queenan loves is wasted on me. Still, he's very right about Faure.


At 5:15 pm, Blogger Sour Grapes said...

Excellent series. Thanks for the tip, I had no idea. Lots to chew on there, and a bit of a surprise to find Queenan caring so much. He's usually much more sarky, which is a sign of not caring one way or the other. I'm not a big fan of Fauré, but he's right on the button about Carmen, and that's about as far as I've got so far.

At 5:27 pm, Anonymous Looney said...

What a great series! Of course, I have to take an exception any number of times, but not with a quarter of the wit displayed :-)


How could he possibly essay "English Classical Music" without even mentioning Benjamin Britten? I mean come ON??

Does he really find Copland "florid?" Not listening to the right Copland pieces, IMO.

His disdain for anything more modern than Stravinsky is a little tiresome, though funny. He just isn't listening to the right stuff. How can he find Part, Kernis, Adams, Glass, or Reilly unlistenable? Quite silly, which may be the point, but it was buggin' me.

His essay on Bach and the Goldberg variations was great, esp. just to get perspective on Bach, who was possibly the greatest, most prolific composer ever (one does not make the other true, of course, but he happened to be both.)

He was far too kind to Tchaikovsky, though. His work is shite, IMO.

Ha! Long haired conductors. Too funny.

Kudos to him for pointing out to the proles a few things, such as that Wagner was one of the greatest musical genii (?) ever, that Pavarotti is one of a kind, that Mahler managed to fit fifteen minutes of gorgeous music into two hours of symphony (okay, not *quite*), that Verdi is all about the songs, that Charles Ives doesn't get a fraction of the attention he deserves, that Andrea Bocelli is NOT an opera singer, that Debussy was transcendant, and that Handel is a bit droll.

And of course, that Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is the absolute bomb.

Thanks for posting that link. You can tell I had a ball, anyway!


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