Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2000 - Music - 325 pages
A snakeful of critical venom aimed at the composers and the classics of nineteenth- and twentieth-century music. Who wrote advanced cat music? What commonplace theme is very much like Yankee Doodle? Which composer is a scoundrel and a giftless bastard? What opera would His Satanic Majesty turn out? Whose name suggests fierce whiskers stained with vodka? And finally, what third movement begins with a dog howling at midnight, then imitates the regurgitations of the less-refined or lower-middle-class type of water-closet cistern, and ends with the cello reproducing the screech of an ungreased wheelbarrow? For the answers to these and other questions, readers need only consult the "Invecticon" at the back of this inspired book and then turn to the full passage, in all its vituperation. Among the eminent reviewers are George Bernard Shaw, Virgil Thomson, Hans von Bülow, Friedrich Nietzsche, Eduard Hanslick, Olin Downes, Deems Taylor, Paul Rosenfeld, and Oscar Wilde. Itself a classic, this collection of nasty barbs about composers and their works, culled mostly from contemporaneous newspapers and magazines, makes for hilarious reading and belongs on the shelf of everyone who loves—or hates —classical music. With a new foreword by Peter Schickele ("P.D.Q. Bach").
 

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Contents

NONACCEPTANCE OF THE UNFAMILIAR
3
BARTÓK
39
BEETHOVEN
42
BERG
53
BERLIOZ
57
BIZET
62
BLOCH
66
BRAHMS
68
PUCCINI
135
RACHMANINOFF
137
RAVEL
138
REGER
139
RIEGGER
142
RIMSKYKORSAKOV
143
RUGGLES
146
SAINTSAENS
147

BRUCKNER
80
CHOPIN
83
COPLAND
86
COWELL
88
DEBUSSY
89
FRANCK
104
GERSHWIN
105
COUNOD
106
HARRIS
107
DINDY
108
KRENEK
110
LISZT
111
MAHLER
120
MILHAUD
124
MOUSSORGSKY
127
PROKOFIEV
129
SCHOENBERG
148
SCHUMANN
168
SCRIABIN
172
SHOSTAKOVITCH
175
SIBELIUS
178
STRAUSS
180
STRAVINSKY
196
TCHAIKOVSKY
205
VARÈSE
213
VERDI
218
WAGNER
222
WEBERN
249
INVECTICON
253
INDEX OF NAMES AND TITLES
285
SUPPLEMENT
297
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Nicolas Slonimsky, pianist, composer, conductor, author, lexicographer, jingle writer, and parent who spoke Latin to his daughter, died in 1996 at the age of 100.

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