Saturday, April 17, 2010

Music Humanities

I'm constantly in awe of the hilarious things I find in my Music Hum readings. Call me a nerd, but I absolutely have to share a few of these gems.

Response to Schoenberg's Five Pieces:

"The pieces have no program or poetic basis. We must be content with the composer's own assertion that he has depicted his own experiences, for which he has our heartfelt sympathy." --London Daily News, 4 Sept 1912

"The performance ended in a wild struggle in which blows were exchanged. It found its echo in the law courts, where a well-known operetta composer, called as a witness, said, "Well, I laughed myself, and why shouldn't one laugh at what is obviously funny?" And another, a practicing doctor, declared that the effect of the music was "for a certain section of the public, so nerve-wracking, and therefore so harmful for the nervous system, that many who were present already showed obvious signs of severe attacks of neurosis." --Nation, September 1912 (by Ernest Newman)

Response to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring:
"Three ladies sat in front of me and a young man occupied the place behind me. He stood up during the course of the ballet to enable himself to see more clearly. The intense excitement under which he was laboring, thanks to the potent force of the music, betrayed itself presently when he began to beat rhythmically on top of my heat with his fists. My emotion was so great that I did not feel the blows for some time. They were perfectly synchronized with the beat of the music. When I did, I turned around. His apology was sincere. We had both been carried beyond ourselves." --Carl Van Vechten
I love love love Stravinsky.

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