Tuesday, July 15, 2014


AOW asked for an antidote to yesterday’s graphic evidence of the cultural pollution and degeneracy passing for musical art that has poisoned the minds and perverted the souls of far too many in the past fifty-odd years. Many thousands of pieces from the classical repertoire could have filled the bill, but Rosina Lhevinne, who may be best known as the teacher of Van Cliburn, performing Mozart in celebration of her eightieth birthday stood out as especially inspirational. Try not to think. Please don't plan counter arguments. Just LISTEN.

Madame Lhevinne celebrated her 80th birthday in March,1960. To commemorate the occasion  Mrs. Lhevinne was invited to perform the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 K467 with the Juilliard Orchestra conducted by Jean Morel. In this performance we hear a brilliant interpretation of the third movement from this concerto.
Her playing is as young, fresh, crisp, clean, bright and brilliant as as a child prodigy just beginning a legendary career. How did she do it at age EIGHTY? More importantly, why did she not share her tremendous ability by giving concerts and recording all those decades when she was absent from the concert stage? 

Yesterday, we subjected ourselves  to deadly disease. Today, thanks to the miracle that is Mozart, we restore ourselves to health, hope, vitality, 
and good cheer.


  1. Now, THIS is more like it.

    Rosina Lhevinne's performance and interpretation sparkle! What genius!

    For the life of me, I'll never understand why my adult piano student, usually a person who appreciates fine music, doesn't like Mozart.

    PS: To get the video/audio to play all the way through, I had to click to YouTube.

    Thanks for posting this, FT.

  2. PS: I've no doubt that Mozart would applaud this performance by Rosina Lhevinne.

  3. According to Wikipedia:

    Her greatest moment as a soloist came in January 1963, aged 82, with her debut at the New York Philharmonic under conductor Leonard Bernstein playing Frédéric Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece she had performed for her graduation from the Moscow Conservatory sixty-five years earlier.

    Rosina Lhevinne lived to age 96. Perhaps music kept her young.

  4. Good morning, AOW! What a remarkably fine generously spirited article that is on Mrs. Levhinne un her nineties! I'm amazed it came from PEOPLE Magazine, a publication from which I expect very little, and usually avoid.

    I was familiar with most of the material in it, of course, but it was good to see it laid out so graciously in a publication that appears now to devote itself exclusively to the antics and vulgar exhibitionism of Pop culture icons.

    By te way, I checked the video, and it played all the way through on my computer -- in the midst of a notably VIOLENT thunderstorm, I might add.

    The poor cats went into hiding, and still haven't come out, even though I've tempted them with a whole can of Shrimp and Salmon Fancy Feast.

    I took little Mr. Pussy, the four-and-a-half-pound tomcat, in as soon as I got up to make sure he was able to eat his breakfast in peace. I can see he's beginning to fill out nicely, and seems to realize I am now his best friend and mentor. ;-)

    My Winner is still out of sorts -- just not being a good sport at all. I hate to see her unhappy, but she'll simply have to learn tolerance, even if she never develops a capacity for altruism.

    Priscilla spent the night inside, and of course woke me at 3:30 AM -- very gently, as she always does, by walking all the way up my body from toes to shoulders -- all seven pounds of her -- on soft padded paws -- but still I could have used another hour of sleep.

    It should be interestng to see what today brings, although very frankly I dread hearing the news, since nothing the least bit encouraging, enlightening or cheerful is ever reported these days.

    All i can say gan and again is "Thank God forMozart -- and all the rest of thise rare geniuses who've provided substantive evidence that life is worth living."

  5. I awoke this dreary and humid morning thinking it was certain to be a less than fully enjoyable day.

    As I prepared for my morning wake up jolt, a cup of Sumatra dark roast, I cued up Rosina. Not realizing my mood was quickly going to change.

    How delightful! Crisp, light, and refreshingly invigorating. While never a big Mozart fan this piece as performed by Rosina is uplifting and reminded me there were, and still are, great artists.

    Thank you for posting this on today's morn FreeThinke.

  6. Very nice, while not I'm not a fan of Mozart (which fact I expect to be of interest only to myself) age often adds value to a performance.

    If you intend some comparison between hip-hop and Mozart, the comparison is unfair. More illuminating would be to compare it with Gilbert & Sullivan or Vaudeville.

    "Just LISTEN."

    OK. You too, though ;)

  7. Music is art, an audible expression of ones feelings, moods, values, indeed it is reflective if how a person views reality, ie life.

    Looking at hip hop and Mozart from that perspective why is it an unfair comparison?

    Art, whether good art (Mozart), or poor art (as in yesterday's Shit on You) has impact on society. Which would you rather your offspring listen to?

  8. FreeThinke,
    That is indeed an inspired performance.

    We have had many discussions about our popular culture and its music, and all I can offer to assure you is that people are making music that is melodic and inspiring, although I agree with you that classical music provides a much richer canvas for expression. However, it doesn't speak to the ordinary person today.

    The stuff we heard yesterday is a primal scream, a reflection of the dysfunctional society that spawned it, so it speaks to people. It does still crack me up though when I see a doughy white man wearing a tie and sitting in a Lexus listening to gangster rap. Is he angry? Posing? Maybe he just likes the hypnotic cadences, I don't know. There's no accounting for taste.

    But meanwhile, we have talented people making beautiful music that touches the hearts of millions and inspires them to dream, to get up and go to work in the morning, and to love their families, or maybe to just remind them that amid all the ugliness, there is beauty in life.

  9. Blah, blah, blah.

    I hate rap because it attempts to impose a "private" obscene upon all "public" airspace within earshot. Keep the vulgar aspects of the lyrical bawdy genre in the local tavern. It doesn't deserve any venue larger than that.

  10. In other words, playing RAP in PUBLIC is the very definition of RUDE. It's the verbal equivalent of exposing one's privates in public.

  11. While I certainly agree, Thersites, I HAD hopedo leave he discussion of (C)RAP behind and concentrate, instead,on the lightness, elegance, energizing, exhilarating and uplifting qualities found in Mozart, and this Rondo in particular.

    There could be no comparison with the repugnant "eminemtion" posted yesterday. It would be like trying to compare a road apple laid by a dray horse with a Grand Marnier soufflé prepared by Escoffier.

  12. FreeThinke, I think you just "compared" the content yesterday's post to today's post quite aptly.

  13. RN
    it's more interesting to compare things which are more broadly comparable. Hip hop is more similar in artistic ambition and shares more of the its aims with those other forms I mentioned. What's the point of comparing it to a form which consists of a beat and lyrics with one which is wordless, and has very little rhythmic motivation? Just about all you can do is rank them, which is IMO boring. Even a recitative would make a richer comparison.

    "Which would you rather your offspring listen to?"
    Art doesn't have to be "good for you". All I require from art is for it to deliver the spark of humanity, which order, it turns out, is quite tall enough. Art is action at a distance. An artist on the other side of the world can, through his work, slap you on the back hard enough that you still feel it on your way home. A long-dead man can whisper in your ear. That only happens when the artist reveals his humanity, and it's bound to be messy, dangerous or otherwise flawed I'm sure.

    I hope that's what you who enjoy Mozart are getting out of it. I hope it isn't just the ornate flourishes and easy melodic flow, and I hope it's not just the acrobatics this old lady's fingers were still nimble enough to execute. I hope you're catching a glimpse of the man behind it, and I hope he's touching you. That I don't get that from him is unimportant, as long as somebody does.

    "classical music provides a much richer canvas for expression"
    True, but also worth noting that there are some artistic objectives for which it is not the most suitable. I do not believe that the orchestra is in every way superior to other configurations.

    "a doughy white man wearing a tie and sitting in a Lexus listening to gangster rap. Is he angry? Posing?"

    You don't have to be black to enjoy a gospel choir either.

  14. Well, Kurt, what-we-call "classical music" today has NEVER been "popular." Given the hard times most of the great composers had trying to keep body and soul together while creating their immortal masterpieces searching all the while for enough acceptance to find employment, it's no wonder the Average Joe, the blokes who congregate at the corner bar, most modern women who seek "power," and virtually all the peasants and working class stiffs the wide world o'er think people who love classical music must either be crazy or very very snobbish -- if they think at all, which often seems doubtful..

    No one HAS to love Mozart. The majority never will. That's a given, but as I often say,popularity offers no proof of virtue. More often than not, I'm sorry to have to say, it's more an indication of marked inferiority.

    Just because a great many people find themselves attracted to something does NOT mean that it is GOOD. That too is a given.

    I feel blest to have an instinctive love for serious music. It's always been there, but the interest was so strong it compelled me to study the subject in depth, and the more I study, the more I discover that i want to know -- even about pieces I've known for fifty or more years..

    Not to be condescending, but I feel rather sorry for those wh don't "get" Mozart or any of the others.

    At the same time I must add: with a commercial, agenda-driven culture n Educational Establishment that seems BOUND and DETERMINED to OBLITERATE all TRACES of "High Culture," while deliberately saturating Public Consciousness with endless examples of bland mediocrity, aggressively impudent, often vile, downright DEPRAVED taste, it's no wonder audiences for serious music have been steadily dwindling since the SICK-sties.

    The schools on conjunction with TV and the Pop Music Industry have been in the business for a very long time now of MISEDUCATING our children -- making sure sure they have little or no chance to acquaint themselves with the best Civilization has had to offer.

    Sorry, but I can't see that as anything but WICKED.

  15. SO, FT, are you saying that you subscribe to the Newton Hypothesis that ("we stand upon the shoulders of giants")(as opposed to the Ortega Hypothesis) as it applies to music?

    btw- Ortega most likely would have disagreed with the hypothesis that has been named after him, as he held not that scientific progress is driven mainly by the accumulation of small works by mediocrities, but that scientific geniuses create a framework within which intellectually commonplace people can work successfully.

  16. h/t Average American...

    If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives
    twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If an 80-year-old woman or a three year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration for diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage —
    you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If the media panders to your openly socialist leader while the IRS targets groups with dissenting views— you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If your government 'cracks down' on legal gun sales to law abiding citizens while secretly supplying illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels— you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    If your local government (Chicago) outlawed gun ownership for 'the safety of its citizens' and now boasts the worst murder rate in the country — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

    What a country!

    How about we give God a reason to continue blessing America?

    This was borrowed from another blog but it is going around the internet. I don't know who wrote it. Please spread it far and wide!

  17. Rosina Lhevinne's performance and interpretation sparkle! What genius!

    Plato, "Ion"

    SOCRATES: I perceive, Ion; and I will proceed to explain to you what I imagine to be the reason of this. The gift which you possess of speaking excellently about Homer is not an art, but, as I was just saying, an inspiration; there is a divinity moving you, like that contained in the stone which Euripides calls a magnet, but which is commonly known as the stone of Heraclea. This stone not only attracts iron rings, but also imparts to them a similar power of attracting other rings; and sometimes you may see a number of pieces of iron and rings suspended from one another so as to form quite a long chain: and all of them derive their power of suspension from the original stone. In like manner the Muse first of all inspires men herself; and from these inspired persons a chain of other persons is suspended, who take the inspiration. For all good poets, epic as well as lyric, compose their beautiful poems not by art, but because they are inspired and possessed. And as the Corybantian revellers when they dance are not in their right mind, so the lyric poets are not in their right mind when they are composing their beautiful strains: but when falling under the power of music and metre they are inspired and possessed; like Bacchic maidens who draw milk and honey from the rivers when they are under the influence of Dionysus but not when they are in their right mind. And the soul of the lyric poet does the same, as they themselves say; for they tell us that they bring songs from honeyed fountains, culling them out of the gardens and dells of the Muses; they, like the bees, winging their way from flower to flower. And this is true. For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles. Many are the noble words in which poets speak concerning the actions of men; but like yourself when speaking about Homer, they do not speak of them by any rules of art: they are simply inspired to utter that to which the Muse impels them, and that only; and when inspired, one of them will make dithyrambs, another hymns of praise, another choral strains, another epic or iambic verses—and he who is good at one is not good at any other kind of verse: for not by art does the poet sing, but by power divine. Had he learned by rules of art, he would have known how to speak not of one theme only, but of all; and therefore God takes away the minds of poets, and uses them as his ministers, as he also uses diviners and holy prophets, in order that we who hear them may know them to be speaking not of themselves who utter these priceless words in a state of unconsciousness, but that God himself is the speaker, and that through them he is conversing with us. And Tynnichus the Chalcidian affords a striking instance of what I am saying: he wrote nothing that any one would care to remember but the famous paean which is in every one's mouth, one of the finest poems ever written, simply an invention of the Muses, as he himself says. For in this way the God would seem to indicate to us and not allow us to doubt that these beautiful poems are not human, or the work of man, but divine and the work of God; and that the poets are only the interpreters of the Gods by whom they are severally possessed. Was not this the lesson which the God intended to teach when by the mouth of the worst of poets he sang the best of songs? Am I not right, Ion?

  18. A Rhapsodic performance, indeed.

    Praising the genius "behind" the performance has become soooo demoder!

  19. For it is fashionable in the modern era to accept the Ortega hypothesis. It's a thought that best soothes the Modern ego.

    For, "Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'."
    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  20. I believe opera were very popular, at least.

    "...all the peasants and working class stiffs ... think people [like me are] ... very very snobbish -- if they think at all, which often seems doubtful."


    I wonder where they got that idea from? :/

    It is true that popularity is no indication of quality, but you err in suggesting that popularity implies inferiority (that's snobbery).

    Don't feel sorry for me -- there's no shortage of amazing stuff which I *can* hear, including plenty from Mozart's contemporaries. I think it's you who is the more deeply deficient: I pity your alienation from entire genres.

    That said I stand shoulder to shoulder with you against the forces that seek to obliterate high culture. I completely agree that the music industry is complicit in lowering standards across the board; classical music is struggling with many of the same commercial burdens as is popular.

  21. @ Jez: You don't have to be black to enjoy a gospel choir either.

    True. The point I was aiming for was that I wonder what attracts a successful white businessman to listen to expressions of urban angst. I understand rich white kids doing it to outrage mommy and daddy. I also understand the poser aspects to it.

    To take race out of it, it would be like the same man listening to the Sex Pistols back in the late 70's/early 80's denigrate the system that has made him prosperous.

    I'm not criticizing, just wondering

  22. The passage of time makes music pure. As the hair and the politics recede into distant memory, I think we can play the Pistols in our cars without looking like posers -- it's just music now.

  23. FT,
    There could be no comparison with the repugnant "eminemtion" posted yesterday. It would be like trying to compare a road apple laid by a dray horse with a Grand Marnier soufflé prepared by Escoffier.


    I'll never again listen to the road apples posted here yesterday. But this glorious performance in this blog post? I'll listen to it over and over again.

  24. PS: I have eclectic tastes in music. But I do draw the line somewhere. Yesterday's post was one of the lines!

  25. FT,
    So, how is your cat family today?

    We had brutal thunderstorms yesterday. Amber and Mysti hid under the bed. Not Cameo! She placed herself in the position of Guardian of the Front Door. She was ready to charge the enemy should he have tried to enter.

  26. Punk... cultural activism for the Post-Modern Interpassive subject.

    Proof. It's "commodification" and conversion to "product".

    Rap. Another "revolution" to preclude REAL revolution.

  27. Opera became the province of the upper classes when it came to this country.

    In Italy, where my parents were born, opera was to the general population what baseball is to Americans.

    Almost every paese had an opera house,(Venice at one time had 35 opera houses!) and the music was to the populace what today's pop music is -- everyone knew it and could whistle it on their way home from the performances, where, BTW, they ate, smoked, chattered, and made known their approval or disapproval of the composers and artists with catcalls, hisses, and other disruptive noises.

    Somehow this boisterous plebeian entertainment, over the centuries, became almost the exclusive cultural enjoyment of the rich and the snobbish. This was probably because other kinds of musical entertainment became available for audiences and there was much to choose from.

    Mozart wanted, above anything else, to write opera, and not just Italian opera, he wanted to write opera in his native language, and, indeed, he gave us two gems: "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" and "Die Zauberflöte."

    Essentially, what this comment is about is that operatic music and performances were what one could call the "pop music" of the day in 19th century Italy.

    I'm fortunate that my parents played all this music when my siblings and I were very young, so that the music isn't anything strange to my ears, but rather familiar and pleasurable. I listened to their Caruso recordings and then went to my room and swooned while Elvis sang "Love Me Tender."

  28. That's quite a herstory of the popera, pShaw. I didn't know that Jacopo Peri wrote the Three Penny Opera...

  29. ...or was it the world's first Broadway musical... I am a bit unclear on my revisionist herstory.

  30. If only other art forms had originated with the masses, and not the Hoadwy Towdy and/or Oxfordian elites...

  31. @ Jez: The passage of time makes music pure. As the hair and the politics recede into distant memory, I think we can play the Pistols in our cars without looking like posers -- it's just music now.

    I actually meant a man at that time, but I agree with you.

    I was a fan of The Clash and the Sex Pistols (Nevermind the Bollocks was their only album) as a young man in the mid 80's, even though I had nothing in common with angry kids from London.

    Looking back, I think it was the music that attracted me more than lyrics. I don't remember discerning any message from the music other than just rebelling against adults. I was also into country back then, so go figure.

    I used to like Metallica and other hard rock and metal, but angry music just has no appeal to me anymore. I guess I'm mellowing with age.

  32. @RN ---
    Art, whether good art (Mozart), or poor art (as in yesterday's Shit on You) has impact on society.
    I'm not sure that's true much these days.

    Music has become a method of clan identification. Don't know that it has much impact any longer.

    If you want to find contemporary art that engages the mind rather than strictly the emotions you really have to hunt.

    The "classics" are great and I love them but it's also a very static world that invites complacency.

  33. I find myself in rare agreement with Ducky.

    All of the arts, including TV, cinema and music, are very fragmented.

    In music, we have fewer big stadium-fillers like U2, but thousands of niche bands thriving and making their smaller but dedicated fan base happy.

  34. "I used to like Metallica and other hard rock and metal, but angry music just has no appeal to me anymore. I guess I'm mellowing with age."

    I doubt that, Kurt, I think it means you might have grown up at last. If you hadn't, I doubt we'd be able to talk with ne another as we do.

    One of the greatest things about serious such as Haydn, Mozart, beethoven, Brahms, et al. is that IF you begin to enjoy it and develop a love for it, it never goes out of style, never becomes tiresome, and only seems more wonderful, more beautiful, more fascinating and more meaningful with each repeated hearing. Each great work is like a bottle of some rare and perfect vintage that automatically replenishes itself as you imbibe.

  35. Thersites, your lengthy quotation from Plato was not lost on me.

    I certainly would agree that "inspiration" -- I more often call it Insight -- comes from God -- if you prefer to call Him the Muse, it's all right with me, but I disagree that one cannot be "in his right mind" in order to create a worthy poetic utterance.

    I'm sure Mme. Lhevinne would be among the first to agree that after inspiration strikes realizing one's artisti]c vision boils down to 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration. ;-) While no one can "teach" anyone to become a genius, it takes a great deal of skillful instruction, craftsmanship, and dedicated honing of necessary skills to fulfill the promise of genius.

    I've had an excellent education in my field, and stand as living prof that mere talent,high IQ, great love and deep commitment are not quite enough to produce an artist of the first rank. I'm in that lamentable category of having been good, but not quite good enough.

    What one needs to achieve real success as a concert artist is far beyond excellence. One must be touched by The Divine.

    Still, if I had it to do all over again, I would likely do the same. Ir's still great fun riding on the merry-go-round, even if one never capturse the Brass Ring.

    "A man's reach should always exceed his grasp."

  36. Jez,

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again. You and I might just as well have come from different planets and belong to two different species for all we have in common.

    You don't understand me, you only think you do. I'm sufficiently modest to admit I don't understand you, but frank and impertinent enough to add I'm not at all sure I'd ever want to.

    My interests are many and varied as are my abilities. I'm motivated much more by a love of Beauty than by an aversion to Ugliness. I am quite sure I know the difference between them -- and yes I am fully aware that Worthiness and true Beauty may be found in the poorest, humblest circumstances, and is hardly dependent on the accumulation of great wealth or gaudy, quasi-palatial surroundings. I'm equally aware that some of the best educated, most refined, erudite and accomplished individuals are capable of shocking rudeness, infinite cruelty, extreme callousness and revolting degrees of intemperance and self-indulgence.

  37. Thank you, too, Les, for the affirmative remarks. I'm glad you found this sparkling vivacious bit of Mozart to your liking.

    Nt everything needs to be dissected, chopped in bits and raked over the coals. Often it's best just to stand back, open our ears and our minds and LISTEN when we're in the presence of something wonderful that far exceeds our own capabilities.

  38. Having played more classical Trumpet than jazz or pop I obviously developed an appreciation for the type and style of music we both enjoy. I will be forever thankful for having done so.

  39. Some may notice the removal of several comments, and find that objectionable. I'm sorry, but I found those remarks objectionable, myself, and I'll tell you why.

    Very simply I found them insolent, combative, personally offensive, and contrary to the purpose of this particular post.

    I had hoped to share a few moments of light, and joy -- revel for a short time in unrestrained merriment-- possibly revive a sense of optimism -- and foster some appreciation for Mozart and admiration for the remarkable woman whose accomplishments were vast, and whose life stands as a positive role model for anyone with talent and serious ambition.

    Fortunately, many responded as I had hoped, but as usual, representatives of the Left felt compelled to march in and start throwing the moral equivalent of cold pee into the midst of an otherwise pleasant, festive atmosphere. Their method, of course, is to derail the discussion by diverting our attention to their habitual exercise of Critical Theory, which never fails to subvert and pervert whatever positive uplifting aspects there be by dragging our attention downward to the sadly solemn celebration of Depression, Derogation, Degradation, Uncertainty and Despair in which THEY, apparently, thrive and wish the REST of us to revel.

    I won't have it here. Obviously, I can't control the rest of the world, but this is an extension of my personal space, and I refuse to be bullied, insulted, annoyed and depressed by TOXIC influences in my territory.

    I'm not going to name names, because it's hardly necessary, but the best way to describe these unwelcome advances would be to liken them to the experience of being pinned to the wall at a crowded gathering by someone who rarely brushes -- and never flosses -- his teeth, and then has the unmitigated gall to lecture you could improve your personal hygiene. UGH!

  40. An underused word for us to know and treasure:


    unattractive and objectionable:

    irritating; repellent: prickly, spiteful

    fearsome; forbidding

    repellent, irritating

    unpleasant, forbidding, grim

    I'll leave it up to your fertile imagination to contemplate and then decide how it might apply to the discussion.

    Other words that might prove useful could be captious, disputatious, pejorative, petulant, disdainful, insidious, malodorous, intransigent, -- Carry on!

  41. I don't object in the least, my only disappointment is that my intentions, which were positive, friendly and gentle, have so badly failed. I was maybe overexcited, but only because I felt I had discovered the key (a single key!) which would unlock a thousand doors for you. I make no apology for wishing to see you freed from your cultural exile.

    Those remarks of mine which remain are, I hope, easily distinguishable from cold pee or equivalent, etc.

  42. Miss Shaw's assertions about Opera's being primaruly a popular medium in Europe are only partially true.

    Clearly the origins of all important music -- both sacred and secular -- came from the sponsorship of either The Church or wealthy, powerful aristocrats with a particilar interest in Music and Art, etc.

    From WIKI's article on Monteverdi's Orfeo (edited by FT)

    .. in 1590 or 1591, Monteverdi secured a post as a viola player at Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga's court at Mantua. Through ability and hard work Monteverdi rose to become Gonzaga's maestro della musica in 1601 ...

    Vincenzo Gonzaga's particular passion for musical theatre and spectacle grew from his family connections with the court of Florence. ... Towards the end of the 16th century innovative Florentine musicians were developing the intermedio—a long-established form of musical interlude inserted between the acts of spoken dramas—into increasingly elaborate forms.

    Led by Jacopo Corsi, these musucal fihures were responsible for the first work generally recognised as “opera:” Dafne, composed by Corsi and Jacopo Peri and performed in Florence in 1598,. combined elements of madrigal singing and monody with dancing and instrumental passages to form a dramatic whole. Only fragments of its music still exist, but several other Florentine works of the same period— ... Peri's Euridice and Giulio Caccini's identically titled Euridice—survive complete. These last two works were the f precursors of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, the first known complete opera still performed today.

    The Gonzaga court had a long history of promoting dramatic entertainment. A century before Duke Vincenzo's time the court had staged Angelo Poliziano's lyrical drama La favola di Orfeo, at least half of which was sung rather than spoken. ...

    Without the Church and the aristocracy -- and later the patronage of wealthy, highly successful businessmen -- Western Culture, as we know and admire it, would never have been able to get a leg on game.

    While it's true that much of the melodic material used by composers of sacred music and by those who wrote great symphonies, sonatas, tone poems and operas, etc. came from Folk Tunes, the highly developed. complex pieces we revere today could hardly be said to belong to The Folk.

    The object of serious composers is usually to do their best to transform the Ordinary into something akin to the Divine.

    It's a great mistake, however, to think that the tremendous treasure trove of serious music we have spannung about eight centuries was never meant to be enjoyed by all who have an ear for it. that's nonsense, even if most of what we treasure WAS made possible by the patronage of rich and powerful institutions and individuals.

  43. I'm sorry if I misunderstood your intentions, Jez. HOWEVER, introducing an area of music which I certainly HAVE examined, and made clear I have find grotesque, offensive to good taste and downright repulsive, seems too much like attending a formal dinner, unwashed and ungroomed a nd uinvited, in ragged jeans and a stained sweatshirt where the best in food and wine are being served to a formally attired assemblage on the finest china, with antique silver cutlery, starched white napery and fresh cut flowers artfully arranged, and then announcing, " This here shindig is stuffy and boring. You all would have just as good a time -- probably better -- if you'd get real, come down off your high horses, strip off those stupid fancy clothes, go out in the yard, get in touch with the dirt, drink beer, and grill your own hamburgers and hot dogs."

    This disruptive Will Rogers Act might amuse some, but it wouldn't go down well with me, -- well meant or not -- especially if I'd planned, and paid for the party, and hired a well-known string quartet to play after dinner in the music room.

    Another apt parallel might be if someone came up to me at a social gathering and announced -- in front of my beautiful, beloved blonde wife -- "You two just don't know how to live. You ought to get down and dirty, smoke some weed, and go to a multi-racial, bisexual orgy. You've never lived till you've been fvcked by a big black buck. It would do both of you a world of good. It's time you found out what life is really all about. Now don't you look at me like that, I'm only trying to exapnd your horizons."

  44. Now, I hope you understand that I bear YOU no ill will in graphically describing my feelings regarding this particular matter in this particular context?

  45. You're entitled to your feelings, although I'd rather avoid reading your racist fantasies (which power is entirely mine, don't restrain yourself on my account) -- I think it's clear enough that those feelings are substantially unrelated to anything I've said to you.

  46. As has so often been the case in the past we shall simply have to agree to disagree, and let it go at that. We really do work on different 'operating systems,' and seem doomed either to run along parallel lines or in opposite directions in too many areas.

    I have no idea why Go chose to divide mankind into several, markedly different racial groups with profoundly different characteristics, but He did. Whether right or wrong, no one could deny that that alone has caused no end of terrible trouble.

    People in general rarely fail to feel suspicious, resentful and hostile to anything perceived as "alien" or notably "different." Believe it o
    not I am not like that. I have always felt the differences in culture, behavior, custpms, mores and appearance were fascinating. It would never occur to me to want to go out of my way to hurt, exploit -- and certainly not to annihilate -- anyone unlike my own ethnic group.

    Where you and I part company, however, is my insistence that I have as much right as anyone of a different race or religious background to assert MY identity - especially in in my OWN country -- and want to preserve, protect and defend MY particular ethnicity, cultural and religious heritage, and AESTHETIC with as much pride as anyone else.

    I do believe in the words of Robert Frost in Mending Wall "good fences make good neighbors." I believe in the sanctity of private property, and freedom of assembly.

    I am fully prepared to respect and even enjoy anyone else's ways AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT IMPINGE UPON MY WAY of LIFE or attempt to REFASHION IT in THEIR IMAGE.

    That the Vikings, the Romans, the Huns, the Goths and the Visigoths, Genhis Khan, then England, France, Spain and Portugal, Germany,and Japan did exactly that all over the world in ages past and not so ,ong ago does NOT meant that I am in any way responsible for THEIR misconduct, and frankly I'm sick to death and mad as a wet hen at the incessant drumbeat that as told me all my life that I am.

    All I want is to live and let live. PERIOD. Agitators, reformers and "revolutionaries" make me sick.

  47. I have nowhere suggested that you abandon your aesthetic, just that you greet others with more curiosity than (premature) judgement, to put it in your terms.
    If you had a commenter who criticised your every sonnet on the grounds that it failed as a haiku, I would wish to appraise her of the difference between the two forms and encourage her to either judge your sonnets as a sonnet, and not as a haiku, or else to cease her incessant irrelevancies. I am convinced that it would in no way diminish her devotion to the haiku form to follow my suggestions.

  48. I shall try, but I assure you I have "'explored" the sights and sounds of any number of cultural expressions I find repugnant including "hip-hop", and have dismissed them -- not out of prejudice -- but from (notably unpleasant) experience.

    At any rate, THIS thread was SUPPOSED to have been about Mozart and Mrs. Lhevinne and the clear and convincing evidence that both achieved a kind of Eternal Youth, despite their obvious mortality. It was presented as an ANTIDOTE to the previous discussion, and you chose to try to cointinue the argument from the other thread after tellung us you didn't particularly care for Mozart.

    If only we COULD "see ourselves as others see us," a great deal of misunderstanding and unkindness would doubtless result -- even if the suicide rate rose precipitously. ;-)

  49. Well, I honestly didn't feel it was off topic (you did intend some unfavourable comparison, didn't you?) and, be fair, I doubt I'd be a contender for the prize for wondering off topic around here!

    btw, I know you aren't interested that I don't like Mozart, that was my point! Such an opinion is of no value to his enthusiasts.

    Last reply, I promise. You can have the last word after this if you want it.

  50. Once more with feeling:

    "As has so often been the case in the past we shall simply have to agree to disagree, and let it go at that. We really do work on different 'operating systems,' and seem doomed either to run along parallel lines or in opposite directions in too many areas."

    You don't particularly like Mozart, but you do find things to admire about Hip Hop, and you expect me to take you seriously? Words fail me.

    We are just not each other's kind of people. I don't know how I could put it more clearly.



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