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Monday, May 10, 2004

Good Lord!

Heading over to Lynn Sislo's blog for my daily visit, I see she's a bit put out that apparently Byzantium's Shores holds a series of spots on the Technorati search results for "classical music", each of which outranks her. This hardly seems fair, since posting about classical music is far more her thing than mine.

Checking this out, I see that she's right: but more than that, I don't see why I should be listed so many times under that, since every listing seems to be generated on the basis of my front-page link to an omnibus review I wrote for GMR of five "introductory" books about classical music. This is, well, strange. I can see appearing once, but why so many? If a bunch of different posts of mine involving classical music had somehow percolated to the top, that would be one thing, but as far as I can tell, this is the same exact citation, repeated over two-dozen times in the search results.

And then I see that Lynn takes exception to an article by critic David Hurwitz (I read that at first as "Horowitz"), in which Hurwitz purports to lay out classical music's ten dirtiest secrets. Lynn explodes most of them, so you can read what she has to say on the subject -- mostly it's just the incredibly tired critical game of pretending that the critic's opinion is actually an objective fact -- but one of the couple she didn't touch made my eyes pop:

4. No one cares about the first three movements of Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique.

To which I say, what staggering horse-shit. Really and truly. I care very damned deeply about those three movements. I care about the long, dreamy passage that opens the Symphonie, before the allegro kicks in with the first statement of the idee fixe, and I care about the wonderful recapitulation of the idee fixe for the entire orchestra toward the end of the first movement, and I care about those solemn, religioso chords that close out the movement.

I care very deeply about that wonderfully graceful waltz in the second movement: its haunting opening with arpeggiated tremolos in the strings, the long and graceful waltz melody (long melodies being so typical of Berlioz), the obliggato part for solo cornet.

And I care immensely for the third movement, the pastoral movement, for its musical depiction of a distant thunderstorm, for the duet between English horn and offstage oboe, again for a long melody that when it recurs is suddenly doubled a third higher by the first violins, and the amazing spot at the end when the idee fize is quoted by four different woodwind instruments in four successive measures.

Maybe that was meant to read, "No one cares what David Hurwitz cares about." I wonder if Lynn omitted that one on purpose, knowing I'd follow the link and end up spitting all over my computer. She's a devilish one.

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