A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 :::
A Mind That Suits has been deepening his acquaintance with Howard Shore's magnificent score to the Lord of the Rings. It turns out that he has been a fan of Mr. Shore's for a long, long time, since he brought very idiomatic American music to the original Saturday Night Live. Lord of the Rings is pretty classic 19th Century sort of stuff--he uses the full orchestra, but he uses it wonderfully. This is not the normal stuff admired by a certain pudgy, balding English teacher, who has an "anything but the 19th Century" attititude toward orchestral music, but he can live with it if it is going to be this wonderful.

For horror, Mr. Shore veers toward that ugliest of musical places, Wagner-land. A fitting choice, but that does not make it enjoyable. As he thinks it silly to only read things you agree with or listen to things you like, said English teacher shelled out 8 bucks for a sampler from the Ring cycle, conducted by Herbert "Isn't all orchestral music Romantic???" von Karajan and featuring uber-singer Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, on the ground that his dislike of Mr. Wagner should be an informed dislike, and who better than Mssrs. von Karajan and Mr. Diskau do the informing? There's no faulting the singing, the conducting, or Mr. Wagner's considerable skill, but "caterwauling" is the word that comes to mind, as does this, the very greatest of all musical insults, which fell from the lips of the poet Baudelaire:

"I love the music of Wagner, but what I really prefer is that made by a cat, suspended by its tail, trying to grab a pane of glass."


::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 12:56 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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