Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Peter Sarsgaard, Harold in Italy

March 3, 2015

Two unrelated morning names today: the actor Peter Sarsgaard, the Berlioz symphony Harold en Italie.



March 1, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, with a play on abduction:

So: abduction by aliens (‘extraterrestial beings’) — but for what purpose? In a significantly conventionalized use of alien abduction, the purpose is probing human beings, but here the purpose of the abduction is a more common one: kidnapping for ransom (where it happens that the kidnappers are alien creatures). There are other possibilities.


The thieving sap spitter

February 26, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, which is, well, bizarre:

Not only do we have a thieving bird that carries off letters of the alphabet, we have one that takes them from the cartoon itself. Bizarre indeed.


Ode to Almond Joy

February 24, 2015

Today’s Zippy, with a candy-bar parody of Schiller’s Ode to Joy (An der Freude), used by Beethoven in the last movement of his Ninth Symphony:


Almond Joy, Mounds, Mars bars! Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.


Child’s play

February 20, 2015

(On music rather than language.)

On WQXR this week, Exploring Music programs on the theme “Child’s Play”, with Tuesday’s show featuring music by children. An Elgar piece written when he was 12, several very early Mozart works, of course, and the Mendelssohn Octet, written when he was 16.


Emmerich Kálmán in wartime

February 7, 2015

In the NYT on the 5th, a piece “Ukraine City at War’s Edge Clings to Arts” by Rick Lyman, with this wonderful photo:

(Performers with the Donetsk National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater waited in the wings on Sunday during a production of “Gypsy Princess.”)

The persistent shelling was barely audible through the thick stone walls of the Donetsk National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. It might have been nothing more than a rickety tram bouncing along Artem Street.

But there was one moment, as Sylva made her grand entrance in the matinee performance of Emmerich Kalman’s “Gypsy Princess” last weekend, that a solid blast caused the sturdy floors to shiver, ever so slightly, like God’s own timpani.

“In the theater, there is a rule that, even in war, performances should continue,” said Andrey Kornienko, the opera’s advertising director. “It is our duty to do our job, to support the people emotionally, to bring them art.”


Doing the fandango, from Venango to Ilopango

January 30, 2015

In my posting on Padre Antonio Soler, I quoted a bit about

A fandango once attributed to Soler, and probably more often performed than any other work of his, is now thought by some to be of doubtful authorship.

and was reminded how much I enjoy the word fandango — a straightforward case of “word attraction” (the opposite of word rage). So I’ve gone on to play with the word.


More theme music

January 22, 2015

In comments on my posting about classical compositions — Liszt, Rossini, Prokofiev — used as theme music in radio and television, two further cases: the titan Wagner and the little-known von Reznicek.


Antonio Soler and the Mournful Valley

January 21, 2015

Not long ago, WQXR played some keyboard sonatas by Padre Antonio Soler, a favorite composer of mine since my student days at MIT but one not especially widely known. That tweaked bittersweet memories of those days in Cambridge MA, especially powerful at this time of the year, in what I’ve come to think of the Mournful Valley of Mid-Winter, in between January 17th, the anniversary of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s death (this year, the 30th anniversary) and January 22nd, my man Jacques Transue’s birthday (this year, the 73rd; Jacques died in 2003) — and with celebrations of love, for Valentines Day, very much in the air.

This wil be about Ann — another posting of many about her and her family — who shared an appreciation of Soler with me.


Theme music

January 21, 2015

(Classical music and popular culture, not much on language.)

A few days ago, WQXR played Liszt’s Les préludes, and I was taken back to the Saturday morning television of my childhood: the serial Flash Gordon, for which a section of Liszt’s work served as the theme music. I then recollected other pieces of classical music that have provided theme music for radio and television shows: notably, Rossini’s William Tell overture (The Lone Ranger) and Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges (The FBI in Peace and War).



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