The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Detritus favorite David Hurwitz seems to have himself an apprentice to continue the proud tradition of modernist hating while ignoring Classicstoday.com’s CD rating philosophy (written by the Hurwitz himself). His name? Victor Carr Jr.

In a review of a new disc comprised of Elizabeth Maconchy’s music, Mr. Jr. exacerbates Classicstoday.com’s already spotty track record of ethics, in the same manner as his venerable master.

Not so enjoyable is Serenata concertante (1962), a gray, angular piece that sounds like Maconchy's attempt to prove that she also can...

Just in case you’re new to the Detritus, here’s a link to Classicstoday.com’s review philosophy. Did you read it? Good. If not, that’s okay, too. Here’s what it says: it says that they’re not supposed to judge the music, just the performance and the sound quality. The judging of the music is to be left to you, the consumer.

So let’s start over.

Not so enjoyable...

Hello? Mr. Jr.? You’re not supposed to judge the music. Remember? Italics mine.

Not so enjoyable is Serenata concertante (1962), a gray, angular piece that sounds like Maconchy's attempt to prove that she also can do "modernist".

Good God! Quotation marks?! Is that really necessary?

I seem to remember hearing a story about Stockhausen, in 1960. After completing a new piece, called Kontakte, he went to the rooftop of Darmstadt, naked, and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Look! I can do ‘modernist,’ too!” But it was not so enjoyable, because it was gray and angular.

Sounds awful, doesn’t it, Mr. Jr.? It also sounds like I judged the piece.

Her technique is assured, and violinist Manoug Parikian offers impressive solo work, even if it's in the service of rather inert inspiration.

Because it was gray, angular and “modernist,” Mr. Jr. deduces that its inspiration was inert, and concludes that even an impressive performance can’t save it. Sheesh. “Inert inspiration.” Is that even possible? Can one really... no.

You know what? Let’s just throw out that pesky review philosophy shall we? Mr. Hurwitz, sir? Master? Please, just delete that page. It’s cramping your style, as well as your protégé’s. It’s not doing us any favors, either. I could be spending my time in a more constructive way—you know, learning my triads so when it comes time for you to review my work, I can’t complain about your ignorant and just plain stupid, irrelevant assertions and judgments concerning “modernism.” (My quotation marks are intended as parody)

It’s settled, then. I’ll drop it, if you do. Good.

Now let’s continue. Throw your best at me, Mr. Jr.; nothing can phase me now.

Finally, the symphonic poem Proud Thames, the first work on the disc, also is the earliest (1952), even though it sounds to be of recent vintage.

I’ll consider this a playful construction. Count yourself lucky that I no longer can be phased by anything.

This is due to the quasi-minimalist repetition toward the end, while the darkly playful interplay of brass and strings evoking the rushing river recalls Libby Larsen's Water Music Symphony.

Strike my last act of generosity! I no longer think that Mr. Jr.’s finally-first-earliest-recent-vintage shtick was intentional. Mr. Jr. just has no conception of time, as evidenced here.

Libby Lasen (born in 1950!) was two-years old when Maconchy wrote Proud Thames (1952. Okay, Larsen may have even been a one-year old, or almost three! Only one, stinking, lousy year old, or almost three!). Now, I may not know much about Maconchy (here’s a short bio), nor am I an expert on non-linear time, but I would dare to say that Larsen’s Water Music Symphony recalls Maconchy, not the other way around.

Congratulations, Mr. Jr.! Today you have done your mentor proud. And embarrassed yourself at the Detritus.


Murderface said...

Given his apparent ability to time-dilate, at least we can hope that Mr. Jr. Grandfather Paradoxes himself posthaste.