Ten More Arrows and Maxims

Remember: If you don’t disagree with these, I’ll have to reconsider my positions!

1. Harp music should be ugly. Pretty harp music is taken for granted.

2. Greatest passage for bassoon? The obbligato in the exposition of Beethoven’s Ninth, 4th mvt. The bassoon can be noble?

3. Who is the founder of Post-Romantic French musical identity, Debussy? Nah. It’s Richard Wagner, pro (Chausson et al.) and contra (Satie et al.).

4. Why do so many musicians disparage the flute? Even Ol’ Man Brahms gave it the loveliest passage in his 4th Symphony! 

5. Greatest Spanish composer? Only smart-alecs say Debussy. Sober adults say De Falla.

6. Greatest Brazilian composer? Only smart-alecs say Villa-Lobos. Sober adults say Milhaud. 

7. Smetana is greater than Dvorak. And Dvorak is, if anything, underrated.

8. Is Stravinsky losing ground? When was the last time you heard Oedipus Rex and liked it? (and I spent 50 bucks on the full score, which is almost as bad as spending 30 bucks on, if you’ll excuse the expression, Carmina Burana)

9. How ‘bout Janacek? Will his ascendancy never plateau? Not unless Mr. Broucek takes all copies of his his scores away with him to the moon. And then, like as not, the astronauts will start a Janacek cult.


10. I keep waiting to get tired of Korngold. Hasn’t happened yet, and it’s been two semesters since I taught about him.  But the English reviewers are right to call his stuff “codswallop”; Not because it is, but because a word that cool should be used every chance you get.