Category Archives: Music

“Bacon and Eggs”

Laudator Temporis Acti quotes an amusing poem from 1931 by A. P. Herbert on the British fondness for bacon and eggs. There is an equally-amusing country song by the Lovett Sisters saying much the same about Americans in 1954. Here … Continue reading

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A Musical Anniversary

Does a 125th birthday count as a significant anniversary? If so — also if not — today is Alban Berg’s 125th. In commemoration, I’m playing the only really tolerable pieces written by the New Vienna School, Berg’s Violin Concerto and … Continue reading

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Are My Tastes Hopelessly Proletarian?

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell twice quotes a song popular among the proles of his imagined future, “composed without any human intervention whatever on an instrument known as a versificator”. He calls it “dreadful rubbish” and a “driveling song”, but it … Continue reading

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Comic Hyperbaton

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this in manuals of rhetoric or lists of figures of speech, but these three sentences all use the same rhetorical trick: Nice we’re having weather, isn’t it? What’s a girl like you doing in … Continue reading

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A Favorite Passage

Randall Jarrell describes a student art exhibit at a fictional women’s college (“Benson”): The students had learned all the new ways to paint something (an old way, to them, was a way not to paint something) but thye had not … Continue reading

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Emendations ‘R’ Us

Eve Tushnet has a top-ten post on horror in pop songs. Unfortunately, I’ve never heard of any of the songs, and only one of the performers – Siouxsie and the Banshies – who was (were?) the object of a Beavis … Continue reading

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Musical Snark

Charles Rosen, The Classical Style, p. 170: It was Handel who said that Gluck ‘knows no more counterpoint than my cook’ . . . Tovey has pointed out that Handel’s cook, who was also a singer in Handel’s opera company, … Continue reading

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Worse than Wikipedia

Our Biology teacher despises Wikipedia, but I think its usefulness depends a great deal on the subject. Anything technical is likely to be ill-informed, and anything political is almost certain to be tendentious, at least until someone corrects or hypercorrects … Continue reading

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Two (Non-Classical) Riddles

What fact connects the following words? cross, lane, return, rock, waltz How about the following series of words and phrases? amnesia, babe, baby, blues, crowd, gal, girls, hardwood floor, healin’, heart, husband, man, merry go round, moon, night time man, … Continue reading

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World’s Oldest Country Music Fan?

That would be 110-year-old Jutland veteran, Henry Allingham, “who once attributed his old age to ‘cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women’” (þ Harry’s Place). None of the first dozen or so commenters noticed that that was a direct quotation from … Continue reading

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If anyone out there has the CD of the Studio der Frühen Musik’s Carmina Burana, Vol. 2 (Teldec 8.44012), and could burn me a copy, please e-mail. This is a reconstruction of the Mediaeval music, conducted by Thomas Binkley, not … Continue reading

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Latin In Odd Places

I just found out that someone calling himself both ‘logoparenthêtês’ (accents in the original) and ‘quislibet’ has translated Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” into Latin. Even those of us generally unfamiliar with Sir Mix-a-Lot’s oeuvre remember the line “I like … Continue reading

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