...Because "Baroque" Sounds Like "Broke," Get It? GET IT?

I swear to Cthulhu there must be a way to write catchy or clever titles for articles without using the stupidest, most obvious jokes possible. Somewhere there is a nascent academic field waiting to be born.

You see, up in Battle Creek, Michigan, a local man (or, at least, grandson of a local woman) was on a space shuttle mission to help repair the Hubble Telescope. Great! I am in favor of such endeavors. I'm not even opposed to programming a symphony concert around [loosely!] space-themed music to celebrate the occasion--on the condition that it's not full of stupid.

I am, however, opposed to tongue-scrapingly idiotic titles. For instance:

Symphony season blasts off with cosmic concert

[Lori Holcomb, Battle Creek Enquirer, October 22, 2009]


(Hey, did you hear the one about why Bach didn't have any money?)

Also, although clearly classical audiences are changing and need to get bigger, is "theme night at the symphony" really the cleverest idea available? That's like "casual Friday" or "dress-like-a-hobo day" in it's conceptual and innovative brilliance.

Figure 1: Jeans...and buttons! At work!? Hilarious. Paradigms...breaking down...

So often, oh, so often I've bemoaned that symphony concerts aren't frequently enough organized with as much conceptual aplomb as a frat party.

In celebration of the space industry and the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra will feature photos taken by the Hubble Telescope and cosmos-inspired music at its season opener Saturday.

See? That seems fair enough. Surely they're not going with Holst, though. That'd be way too obvious. I mean...

Titled "Planet Thunder," the concert will feature popular works such as Holst's "The Planets,"

Well, I mean...I guess you kind of have to. Sigh, fair enough. What else?

Strauss' theme from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey"...

What. There are so many things wrong with that. It's hard to know where to begin.

Figure 2: Battle Creek Cultural Ambassador and Assistant Director for Clever Programming for the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra

Later in the article, previewing [portending?] things to come:

For lovers of classical music, "Fallen Heroes" on March 27 will pay tribute to those who have died in battle.

For everyone else, it'll just be a bunch of notes and shit.

To wit:

From extraterrestrial images to fiery Celtic concertos, [music director Anne] Harrigan said the 2009-2010 season is designed to attract new audience members while hopefully pleasing loyal attendees.

Yeah. A careful reading of that sentence reveals that the goal is "to attract new audience members" while "hopefully" keeping the old ones, yes?

Figure 3: Fail Salad


Gustav said...


And, themed programs are loathsome. At least as far as they're used to play popular pieces that would have been programmed under any circumstance. Had this "space concert" featured for example, Ligeti's Atmospheres, Kernis' Musica Celestis, and maybe say, Ives' Universe Symphony, I'd say the theme was worth it. Linking three pretty disparate works into a unique musical event. However, greatest hits don't need casual links. It's just childish.

Also, I hope you get the extra level of humor in using the Trix rabbit here, with Battle Creek being the birthplace of cereal and home to the family and company Kellogg's.

Danny Liss said...

The problem is the poor execution of the theme. Themes aren't inherently bad, and when done well can provide cohesion to a program.

Interesting question: the official program lists it as Theme from 2001. Is it up to the reviewer to correct that?

(Personally, I vote yes, but it's worth considering.)

Sator Arepo said...

Gustav: *You're* hoping *I* get the Trix rabbit joke?

What about my space shuttle "endeavor"?

Danny: There should be a whole slew of people trying to correct that; I guess the reviewer is the last line of defense?

Gustav said...

SA, I meant what I said a bit more rhetorically speaking...more to illustrate clearly that bit of humor, since I've actually been to Battle Creek on several occasions and visited the cereal museum (which unfortunately has recently closed it doors). Sad times in Michigan to say the least.

And with regards to the "Theme from 2001" matter. Even more confusing. I'm sure they mean the opening fanfare from Also Sprach Zarathustra, but might they have also meant the "On the Beautiful Blue Danube", also by a Strauss, which is also used quite prominently in the film? Clarity people. Clarity.

AnthonyS said...

What's with the bedazzled jeans on Casual Friday?