Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers since Beethoven's Time

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Overview

"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 ...

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Overview

"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").

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Who says the world of classical music is sedate or even dull? Certainly not anyone who has read Nicolas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective! This funny, irascible little book details contemporary critical attacks on virtually all of the great musical figures of the past 200 years. Beethoven is here, along with Liszt, Mahler, Schumann, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner -- all of whom were skewered by the critics at some point in their careers. No classical music lover (or hater!) will want to live without it.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``The music of a demented eunuch,'' writes one 19th-century critic of Wagner in this remarkable anthology of vitriolic reviews. June
Booknews
An anthology of critical assaults on well-known composers and their works written by the late Nicolas Slonimsky<-->writer, lexicographer, pianist, composer, conductor, teacher, and in his own words, "legendary...musicologist of manifold endeavors [and] failed wunderkind." It also includes his "Invecticon," an index to the nasty words and phrases found in the book. This is a reprint of the 1953 edition with a new foreword by Peter Schickele who describes the collection as "funny and instructive." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393320091
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Pages: 325
  • Sales rank: 384,293
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicolas Slonimsky, pianist, composer, conductor, author, lexicographer, jingle writer, and parent who spoke Latin to his daughter, died in 1996 at the age of 100.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Prelude: Non-Acceptance of the Unfamiliar 3
Bartok 39
Beethoven 42
Berg 53
Berlioz 57
Bizet 62
Bloch 66
Brahms 68
Bruckner 80
Chopin 83
Copland 86
Cowell 88
Debussy 89
Franck 104
Gershwin 105
Gounod 106
Harris 107
D'Indy 108
Krenek 110
Liszt 111
Mahler 120
Milhaud 124
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