More Helmut

I don’t know why I’m posting this, because, all in all, this is one of the best articles I’ve read in a long while. Good work Jeremy Eichler. But, damn it, there’s one obviously dictionary-mined adjective that doesn’t make sense, and I can’t help to report it, if only to supplement the previous post.

It’s about German composer Helmut Lachenmann’s s unusual sounds.

He shaped them into a masterfully strange, crepuscular music: tense, hyper-aware, quietly disquieting, at times maddeningly opaque but also with moments of improbable beauty.

(my italics) You know what? Here’s crepuscular. It kinda works, in retrospect. Not terribly well, though—you have to stretch it around a bit. But still, if I had a dictionary of unusually neglected biological terms, crepuscular wouldn’t be my first choice.

For fun: try to use crepuscular in a sentence today. You’ll either be heralded as a master linguist or you’ll receive a blank, crepuscularly crepuscular stare--both fun.


Joshua Kosman said...

You, uh, never hung out with Nellie? Right around the close of day? You should.

Seriously, though, don't go to Wikipedia for the meaning of words that are in the dictionary. You wind up with secondary senses, like the biological ones, instead of the main sense. In this case, "of or pertaining to twilight," which seems perfectly in sync with the well-crafted "quietly disquieting."

Which is to say: Jeremy's my man. Mess with him and I will have his back.

Sator Arepo said...

Well played, Mr. Kosman. And yes, we both like Eichler, too.

Empiricus said...

Yes. Yes. He's good (so is Nellie, who says Hi, by the way), posting away from my OED is generally a bad idea AND this is still one of the best articles I've read in a long time, which was the only reason why I posted this in the first place. Besides, I couldn't have posted something without trying to be somewhat critical, could I? How could I live with myself otherwise?

For those who didn't bother to read it, instead opting to read these wonderfully delightful and informative comments, you should read it. Seriously.

Oh. And SA, you're too congenial.

Sator Arepo said...


Sorry. I'll try to be more of an asshole in the future.

It comes naturally! But I do try to temper it, you know...decorum.