Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hit the Nail Right on the Head

Not long ago, I was over visiting some relatives, and the radio, which was playing in the background, was snarled around a very large snag of opera. The tenor had something discordant to say. The baritone had something even more discordant to add to that, and the soprano seemed to be telling off both of them, just as discordantly, but in a higher register. The tune wandered about, turning in and over unpleasantly upon itself like a Slinky that had met with an unfortunate accident and which was now tangled beyond all hope of regaining its original form or purpose. I wondered who would go and write something like that, and why. The answer to who turned out to be Richard Wagner, and I still have no idea why.

The pain was still fresh in my mind some days later when somebody handed me a book with a generous admission by Mark Twain regarding the same composer:

"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."

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