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Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical…

Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since…

by Nicolas Slonimsky

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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 saying "Music tastes change" when in reality, the whole point of this book is to put together horrible reviews for the amusement of readers.

My favourite review goes something like this "This piece of music sounds like a bunch of nails, and occasionally the hammer dropping". I don't remember who said it of which composer, but the quote is awesome. And strangely, I can totally imagine this piece of music. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Oct 27, 2013 |
if you haven't read this, you've missed one of the great pleasures in life. ( )
  experimentalis | Jan 6, 2008 |
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 his new violin sonata received a bad review: "Dear Sir, I am now sitting in the smallest room of my house. Your review is before me. Shortly, it will be behind me. Your obedient servant, Max Reger". ( )
  Jamie638 | Mar 16, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039332009X, Paperback)

"A supermarket tabloid of classical music criticism."—From the new foreword by Peter Schickele.

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").

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:43 -0400)

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W.W. Norton

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