Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Five Worst Musical Monumentations of 2006

5. Opera composer Stephen Hartke was censored by the Metropolitan Opera House when he attempted to name his opera The Tightest Whore de Suif. Subsequently, Hartke appeared on the PBS television show Feminist Operas by Male Composers and claimed that he was never censored. Rather, due to certain prosody limitations, the title was changed to The Grandest Goodliness.

4. The intellectual folk-music composer John Dowland was besmirched by British troubadour Sting who recorded several of Dowland’s lute-and-voice songs using technologically anachronistic wah-wah pedals, reverberation machines, and “slap delays.”

3. The 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart was celebrated at least four-hundred times in 2006, in the U.S. alone. Many living composers celebrated their birthdays in 2006, but they were not honored with a multi-million dollar chocolate factory or a posthumous interview with Joan Acocella.

2. On the day he turned seventy, Steve Reich gave an odd lecture to so-called “post-minimalist” composers via NPR’s Modern Mainstream program. He told the young composers, “I’m the one who made you, and I can also destroy you. If you don’t believe that, just try me!” Reich then gave an extended account of his early (unpublished) writings and claimed that he invented stereophonic sound and that any composer who records music in stereo owes him royalties. After the radio broadcast, Reich mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with an impersonator.

1. TANDY, Inc. ceased its production of the TANDY Virtuoso-M180. For forty-five years, the M180 was the epitome of étude-enabled electronic interpreters of punch-card sonatini and concerti. Today, the only comparable machine being manufactured is TOSHIBA’s ImPRO-V5678, an inferior device that, according to the product’s instruction manual, only performs “when it wants to.”

Here's to a brighter future for the musical literati! Happy holidays to all. Young composers, do not get stoned or drunk before attending your local Messiah singalong.


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