Friday Quickie: The Beginning is the End

Well, Gustav (and Mrs. Gustav and new! baby Gustav) are moving across the country; Empiricus is mired in grading undergraduate theory exercises (heh).

So I guess it's up to me...suckers.


Sometimes things are over before they even get started. And I'm not even thinking about titles. (For once.)

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Review: A palpable connection to Mendelssohn and Beethoven
Ronni Reich, The Star-Ledger (nj.com), 2/26/2010

With more than 250 years of music-making to its legacy, it is no surprise that the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra brings with it a real, unshakable sense of history.

250 is, indeed, a lot of years for a legacy...to have...to...it.

Er. With?

SPCO reinvents Bach with a barn-dance vibe
Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, 11/18/2010

Have you ever gone to a classical concert where a hoedown broke out?

I've been to classical concerts in lots of places. It's totally conceivable that a hoedown has broken
out in one or more of them at some point (Copland notwithstanding).

Review: Symphony's 'Requiem Mass" reveals plenty
Bruce Miller, Sioux City Journal, 11/14/2010

With Charles Ives' “The Unanswered Question,” [conductor Ryan] Haskins played with lighting, dabbled with educating and teased with staging.

That's a lot of with. I like the parallel construction and everything, but the first with doesn't do what it's trying to do. If only we had perfectly good English prepositions such as in or during! Ah, but that's a little nit-picky. At least we're past the first sentence.

The piece may not have been an appetizing first course,

It may not? Does that mean it may have? Or that it wasn't? Or is it just casual degradation of the merest morsel of modernism?

Well, at least there's a food metaphor. Let's see how that plays out.

...but it said plenty about the music director's desire to do more than classical music's greatest hits.

Ah, not so much. Oh, well.

Okay, wait. Back up.

The piece may not have been an appetizing first course, but it said plenty about the music director's desire to do more than classical music's greatest hits.

Ah, very clever. By omitting the obviously necessary -- and therefore unnecessary -- verb "perform," "play," or "program" between more than and classical, the writer shrewdly comments on the stolid state of over-programming standard concert repertoire. Subtle.

The work was designed to address the questions of existence.

I...okay. Maybe? Or even: probably. But why bust that out in the middle of this particular paragraph?

Ah, but it's more clever wordsmithing; a seemingly out-of-place and perhaps profound interjection paralleling the brassy interjections in the Ives. Well played.

It featured an offstage trumpet, a simmering set of strings and a quartet of jarring flutes.

This is true.

By anyone's standards, it was odd, but provocative.

By my standards, there are two too many commas in that last bit, but that's merely a subjective point of style.


By anyone's standards, Ives' Unanswered Question is odd but provocative...if it's nineteen-oh-freakin'-six.

Just sayin'.

I feel that I have been negligent, so here is a picture that is fun to look at.

Figure 1: Burl Ives is/was not Charles Ives.

Happy Thanksgiving.