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

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Down with Cio-Cio San! Well, why not?

In Music magazine, August 2011, published astonishingly by the BBC – main conspirator in the myth that all classical stuff is masterly – comes the article I have been waiting decades for. Ten leading critics describe with relish the pieces which bore them rigid.

Fiona Maddox of The Observer (a newspaper I read) trashes Strauss’s Don Quixote (Hurrah, say I.), all Vivaldi operas, solo oboe and flute music and Boccherini, while homing in on Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas despite its sublime “When I am laid to earth”. Doesn’t like the screechy sorceress, the sailors (especially when sung with rural accents) and the endless, repetitive, mawkish choruses. Oh cor!

Michael White (The Daily Telegraph) would rather endure dental surgery than listen again to Tristan and Isolde, resenting the interminable wait for something that resembles action and hating Tristan “moaning in delirious competition with that bleating cor anglais.”

Other equally qualified critics take the axe to Vivaldi’s Gloria (“Its opening flourish – nine Ds in a row – aptly warns of the banalities”), Bruckner’s seventh symphony, Madame Butterfly (Hurrah again, from me.) and Brahms’ Requiem (Now that’s rather harder for me to take.). Plus others.

Why my glee? Don’t I like so-called classical music? Yes, but I have antipathies and I’m reassured when the musically literate reveal theirs. Also, a well expressed antipathy may tell you more than predictable plaudits. Good on the Beeb.

NOVEL Now called A Stall Averted. Huge progress (88,794 words) as a result of rising at 6.30 am so I can loll during the afternoon, watching the Tour de France. A 5641-word chapter as Jana tremulously starts to imagine she’s in love. Yes, that fascinates me just as much as ATC chat.