2/20/08

Best Anachronistic Phrase of the Day!

Today's Winner is Olin Chism of the Dallas Morning News. Mr. Chism reaches back to the mid-19th century for a gem. Congratulations, sir. You're on the trolley!

We'll get to the winning phrase soon. First, some gentle fun with Mr. Chism.

Chamber Music Society covers vast territory with ‘Voices of Vienna’

Monday night's program for the Dallas Chamber Music Society was titled "Voices of Vienna."

I am glad you typed that. Because I totally had not inferred it from your title.

It was a fine lesson in how varied the compositional voices of that remarkable musical city were.

But not anymore?

The performers, in Caruth Auditorium, were cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han…his wife…

The biggest shocker of the evening was a pair of pieces by Anton Webern,

Mmm, I love me some Webern. I’m guessing you hated his “shocking” atonal non-music?

who was something of a shockmeister

Shockmeister? That is a made-up bullshit Myspace-person word. ("They call me the Shockmeister, baby!") I’m sorry, but really. Shockmeister.

when he formed a 12-tone team

He formed a 12-tone team? I…

with Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg in early- 20th-century Vienna.

If anyone formed this “team” it was Schoenberg. But that’s not the point. I guess “was in a circle of like-minded artists” or something would have confused readers? Schlocky vernacularisms are schlocky. Perhaps I’ll call you the Schlockmeister.

But the shock this time was not generated by atonality.

Hey-O! Color me surprised!

Quite the contrary. These pieces were sweepingly lyrical, and solidly tonal. The shock was in the unexpected.

Oh, I see. They were some early Webern works. Well, then, I sort of forgive you for the “shockmeister” thing, maybe. You were setting up a long-term construction in your schlocky vernacular paragraph. I’m a little sorry, Schlockmeister.

The works are from Webern's teen years. Both are marked "Langsam," or "Slow," and at two or three minutes each are quite brief. But Webern was already showing a knack for packing a lot of significance into a short span of time, and this music is melodic and, at times, impassioned. If not forewarned, you'd never know they were by Webern. They'd make a tough entry in a "Who wrote this?" quiz.

I’d like to play that quiz! In fact, I have to play that quiz (to finish my degree). Huh, suddenly it doesn’t sound like as much fun as I thought.

Three more pieces by Webern were back on comfortably familiar ground.

Familiar atonal ground? You, sir, have just earned some respect. Awesome. I thought critics were isolated from atonal music! However, you have failed to name the pieces, which is confusing. They are called Drei kleine stücke, Op. 11. You’re welcome.

They were composed in 1914, 15 years after the opening pair, and they are extremely brief, measured in seconds rather than minutes,

I measure my gas mileage in rods to the hogshead!

and use wide-leaping intervals to set an austere mood typical of Webern in his Schoenberg-ian years.

The remainder of Monday night's program was more traditional, with compositions by Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms…

Let’s cut to the chase.

Ms. Han, a forceful pianist, took the spotlight with Beethoven's Sonata No. 2 in G minor, an outgoing work in which Beethoven was obviously feeling his oats as a composer for piano…

He was…feeling his oats? Congratulations! You’ve won the Detritus Review’s first ever Best Anachronistic Phrase of the Day award. Feeling his oats. So, so very old-timey. I found a reference here.

Did you read it? Awesome. Did Mr. Chism use the phrase correctly? Hmm. Lastly:

Brahms' Sonata No. 2 in F Major was a more balanced piece for both performers, and it was going very well when an approaching deadline forced me to leave, reluctantly.

You…left? The concert you are reviewing, presumably for money? During a piece?

Not a classy move, Schlockmeister.

3 comments:

Empiricus said...

This is an experiment. Disregard anything I say.

AnthonyS said...

"Feel his oats".. I thought you were supposed to sow them.

Shows what I know.

Aaron said...

Perhaps he had to leave because he was also "feeling his oats".

I can sympathize. I once left a Santana concert for the same reason. I felt much better when I was no longer in oat-feeling mode.