Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 8 October 2010

A musical morsel

I don’t care for Verdi’s operas, for anything by Khachaturian (especially the Sabre Dance), for Bizet’s Carmen or for le tout Berlioz. But none of my blind spots are interesting since I am a musical ignoramus. What’s fascinating is when someone who knows music says “I don’t like…”

Julia did music at uni and limbers up regularly at the piano. Months ago I tried to get her to blog about music but she refused. With an apprehensive Mrs BB at my side when we were in Prague, I asked Julia why. Seems she has friends who are professional musicians and fears their critical reaction. I sighed, said it was a terrible waste, suggested she was denying her elitism – all the usual journalistic ploys.

But Julia is not a natural refuser. She pondered then let slip a morsel – about Mozart yet. In playing string quartets (You didn’t imagine she was limited to the keyboard, did you?) she’d noticed WAM’s cello writing wasn’t up to much. Bingo! We both agreed this was a price he’d had to pay for ennobling so many soprano roles in his operas. With Beethoven things are the other way round; his sublime quartets were paid for by an inability to come to terms with the human voice, except in the Prisoners’ Chorus.

An important discovery not otherwise available to an ignoramus. Retired fifteen years now, I still have this urge to pry. Mrs BB hates it when I do. I tell her it will be harder next time.

PRAGUE PERSIFLAGE. Lunch on periphery of Old Town: half a duck, red cabbage, potato dumplings – Czk 205 (say £7). No need for dinner but somehow I forced it down.