A Smelly, Half-Minute Quicky

This is just a brief “screw you” to Robert Batty of the Washington post, who took the time to pull out his thesaurus, find the word “spinose” and apply it to Elliott Carter.

Elliott Carter’s Second String Quartet is almost 50 years old,

That would put Carter at 49.

yet it remains as spinose and elusive as ever. Carter’s highly refracted and layered music lacks any conventional gestures (the instruments never play anything together),

Screw you.

let alone harmonic or melodic guideposts.

Screw. You.

But when essayed with such fervor as [the Julliard String Quartet], his vision is somehow compelling;

Somehow?! Screw you, somehow.

it is as though some complex scientific process like atom-splitting is rendered in sound. Not for every taste, but reflective of today’s clinical, minatory world.

Minatory: expressing or conveying a threat.


Empiricus said...

Or else I'll have to write another post about you. Take that!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's one of the worst ones yet. Good find!

Murderface said...

Spinose? Spiny and elusive? This is the problem with thesauri (syn.: synonomicon, -ica); people grab words which bear at best tertiary resemblance to one another, then jam them together.

If there's one thing that a spine is not, it is "elusive." Spines are nothing if not conspicuous, as anyone who has ever seen a cactus or sea urchin can attest.

Perhaps Batty feels that Carter's work bears occult spines, like those of the platypus; turgid with venom and concealed until necessary for self-defense. Batty seems to know quite a bit about turgidity.

I had hoped that "minatory" shared a root with "minotaur," but alas, they are false cognates.

Aaron said...

Hey! Where's my "Composer of the Day"?

Anonymous said...

What the fuck does "harmonic of melodic guideposts" mean?

And "conventional gestures"? At least that phrase has meaning, but what does he want, an alberti bass?

Empiricus said...

I apologize dr. nick. I have no editors, just like the Washington Post. Erratum eradicated.

Also, atom-splitting isn't all that complex.


Anonymous said...

Hey Empiricus, thanks for the above link. I was browsing the site, and while reading the article on the Tsar Bomba, I came across this:

"Soviet Minister of Medium Machine Building Efim Slavsky"

That is the most awesome title for a mid-level government functionary... ever.