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

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2000 - Music - 325 pages
2 Reviews
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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User Review  - TheDivineOomba - LibraryThing

Critics are so awesome in the creative critiques of music they don't like, especially from the early 1800s, before political correctness. The whole scholarly introduction is quite wonderful, basically ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jamie638 - LibraryThing

This is a fascinating collection of personal attacks, insults, and vituperation involving various classical musicians. My very favorite is what the German composer Max Reger wrote to a critic after ... Read full review

Contents

NONACCEPTANCE OF THE UNFAMILIAR
3
BEETHOVEN
42
BERG
53
BERLIOZ
57
BEET
62
BLOCK
66
BRAHMS
68
BRUCKNER
80
RACHMANINOFF
137
RAVEL
138
REGER
139
RlEGGEB
142
RIMSKYKOBSAKOV
143
RUGGLES
146
SAINTSAENS
147
SCHOENBERG
148

CHOPIN
83
COPLAND
86
COWELL
88
DEBUSSY
89
FRANCE
91
GERSHWIN
105
GOUNOD
106
HARRIS
107
DlNDY
108
KRENEK
110
LISZT
111
MAHLER
120
MILHAUD
124
MOUSSOBGSKY
127
PROKOFIEV
129
PUCCINI
135
SCHUMANN
168
SCHIABIN
173
SHOSTAKOVITCH
175
SIBELIUS
178
STRAUSS
180
STBAVINSKY
196
TCHAIKOVSKY
205
VABESE
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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