Holland's Tunnel of Misinformation

Saint Bernard just can’t write a piece without mentioning Schoenberg. It’s old hat. We know that, already. And that is why I’m only going to spend a few seconds trying to parse this subtle assault on our intelligence.

In an article ostensibly about Monteverdi’s Vespers, Mr. Holland praises the works’ canon-worthiness.

How startling, for example, [Monteverdi's] galloping brass writing must have sounded to contemporary ears: an early 17th-century audience innocent of Mozart’s diminished seventh chords, Wagner’s wandering key changes or Schoenberg’s serialist combinations.

Holland and his 1974 Grove Dictionary of Music must be missing a couple of volumes. Mozart didn’t invent the diminished-seventh chord, nor was Wagner the first to meander.

I was going to list earlier composers who also used the diminished-seventh chord, but I didn’t. Suffice it to say, there were quite a few, maybe all of them. In addition, I was going to list all of the composers who had previously changed keys in a wandering way, but I didn’t. Again, there were too many. I believe that nobody could convince me that either composer was the chief proponent of the attributed startling doings. Except Schoenberg's attributed doings; that is correct (for the most part). One for three; Holland's batting an astounding .333. Good work so far (for baseball).

And since Holland’s pocket music dictionary must be waterlogged from trudging to concerts in hurricane-force weather, he defines, from memory, “hocket” as:

...the stuttering repetitions of single notes in the vocal parts...

But really, it is defined here. I’m not going to type it, just read the link. Mr. Holland is plainly wrong. He's now one for four--a below league batting average of .250. That's not so good.

Just saying, the NY Times is where a good portion of the concert-going public gets its information about “classical” music, and Mr. Holland writes for the Times, for which you have to pay real money, which goes to Mr. Holland.