Sunday, June 19, 2005

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The first week in June there was a Beethoven week on the BBC. By midnight on Friday Radio 3 had played everything he wrote - every symphony, every quartet, every sonata. And there was a series of three films on BBC2 in which conductor Charles Hazlewood told viewers about the composer's life, and three programs of musical analysis on BBC4. All this on prime time TV! And that’s not all. By the end of June all his symphonies will have been available to download free, courtesy of BBC.

There is a library of books, studies, and monographs on Ludwig, and not just on his life and music. His sexuality, deafness, diseases, genetics, pianos, underwear, friends, enemies, etc, have all been probed by reputable scholars and professionals. His music is a staple in symphonic programing, chamber music, and piano recitals.

But, Dylan Evans wrote in The Guardian recently that Beethoven was a narcissistic hooligan. He writes that Beethoven turned away from the ancient perception that music was supposed to transcend a composer’s idiosyncrasies and replaced it with “an inward-directed, narcissistic focus on the composer himself and his own tortured soul.” This led to “awful” serialism, or “, almost everything that went wrong with music in the 19th and 20th centuries is ultimately Beethoven's fault.” Mr. Evans compares “dark” Beethoven unfavorably to Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach- lighter composers who cheer him up. Friends are trying to stop Dylan’s laughing!


200 years ago bagpipes were outlawed in England.

Bagpipes-(noun)-I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made object never equalled the purity of sound achieved by the pig. -Alfred Hitchcock

Q. How do you get two bagpipes to play a perfect unison?
A. Shoot one.

Q. What's the definition of a minor second? A. Two bagpipes playing in unison.

Q. What's the difference between the Great Highland and Northumbrian bagpipes? A. The GHB burns longer [but the Northumbrian burns hotter]

Q. How do you make a chain saw sound like a bagpipe? A. Add vibrato.

Q. What's the definition of a gentleman? A. Someone who knows how to play the bagpipe and doesn't.

Q. What's the difference between a dead snake in the road and a dead bagpiper in the road? A. Skid marks in front of the snake.

Q. What's the range of a bagpipe? A. Twenty yards, if you have a good arm.

Q. What's the definition of a quarter tone? A. A bagpiper tuning his drones.

Q. How can you tell if a bagpipe is out of tune? A. Someone is blowing into it.

A Canadian Officer, pinned down with his unit in 1944 in Italy, urgently signaled his CO: "Need reinforcements to rescue us, please send six tanks or one bagpiper."

Ireland gave the Scots the bagpipes . . . and they still haven't gotten the joke yet


Blogger A.C. Douglas said...

There are probably more books, studies, monographs on Ludwig than on any other composer....

Not even close. Wagner tops the list by a huge margin (one historian calculated that more words were written about Wagner than about Jesus). Probably next in line is Mozart, then Beethoven.

Enjoy your blog.



11:54 PM  
Blogger paul said...

Thank you.

3:39 PM  

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