Tormented Nozzles

A certain cellist wants a reply to a question of programming: which Haydn pieces to play next month for a children’s concert at the Y?

Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 11:52 AM
subject Haydn programme??????

Thoughts, please – or else… Medtner for you, my boy.

I’ll wait while the chills run down your spine. To be threatened with Medtner! Don’t the Geneva Conventions apply to me? I’m a citizen! I have rights! Is there a Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Musicians?

I needed a legal opinion. I was Googling away and was sifting through pages and pages on Post-Medtner Traumatic Syndrome when I noticed a small link …

The Artistic Director, consistent with the doctrine of unitary executive, may suspend habeas corpus for children’s concerts and other wartime situations …

I realize this is dark humour (spelling for the cellist in question), and not really funny at all, when you think about it. I am choosing not to think about it?

Maybe we could lighten the mood with a musicological/geological (and inevitably somewhat scatological) tongue twister:

Liszt’s mistress sifts schists.

This courtesy the marvelous Fred Sherry. And if you’re not titillated by that, how about this fabulous interview with Robert Craft in the erudite magazine Arete, courtesy the also marvelous Carol Archer:

Craft In 1911 Stravinsky sent the composer Maurice Delage a nude photograph of himself in profile, with the upwardly mobile nozzle prominently exposed, and during a vacation in his country residence, they were joined by the notoriously homosexual Prince Argutinsky, whose correspondence, still in private hands in Paris, is a major source untapped by Stephen Walsh. Stravinsky’s pride in his [scandalous word indicating male member] is most evident in a note to Diaghilev, responding to a letter from him in a depressed mood: “If I cannot help you with my music, what can I help you with? Despite my admiration for my male member, I am not willing to offer you consolation with it.” (22 February 1922: Biarritz.)

Areté Is “upwardly mobile” a metaphor meaning that his [scandalous word indicating male member] was capable of erection? Or that it was semi-erect, or “fluffed” for the photograph?

Craft Fluffed, I suspect. Tautening at any rate.

New Musicologists, back to your word processors!!! Stravinsky’s entire oeuvre needs to be reinterpreted, pronto, in the light of this blatant nozzle hubris. I expect your dissertations on my desk by May 16, 2008, along with bottles of Hendrick’s Gin, which I will need to get through them; here are some titles to get your juices flowing:

The Mobile Nozzle: A Re-examination of Harmonic Tautening in Middle Period Stravinsky

Fluffing Pergolesi: A Pornographic Paradigm for Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne

etc. etc.

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  1. Janet
    Posted April 6, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s not relevant to this entry (it’s hard to think what *would* be relevant to this entry), but judging from some previous entries, I thought you should know, if you don’t already, that Covent Garden is planning an opera about the life of Anna Nicole-Smith. At least according to Entertainment Weekly:

  2. Posted April 7, 2008 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Thank Christ, “The Rite of Spring” finally makes sense. It definitely required a composer who was enchanted with the size of his nozzle, and good for him and all of us.

  3. Posted April 7, 2008 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Mozart too, with his scandalous La Nozzle di Figaro.

    Where does it all end?

  4. allbetsareoff
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    This calls for an engorged appendix from Richard Taruskin.

  5. Christina
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s pretty funny to find this in Areté given that the definition of ‘areté’ is (as Wikipedia has a better and more succinct definition than I’m able to muster): ‘in its earliest appearance in Greek this notion of excellence was bound up with the notion of the fulfillment of purpose or function; the act of living up to one’s full potential.’ puns galore!

  6. wr
    Posted April 9, 2008 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Stravinsky really was tiresomely self-absorbed (and Craft always seems to reflect him so wonderfully well it is just uncanny). Can’t you just imagine him singing to himself “You’re so vain, you probably think this schlong’s about you”? (Sorry, Carly.)

  7. Posted April 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking this is probably not the exact photo Craft is talking about, but I humbly submit it for, um, research purposes.

  8. Posted April 16, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Years ago a friend who attended the Curtis Institute told me that a friend was a go-fer for Stravinsky when he visited Curtis. Apparently his prime responsibility was to get cheap bourbon, cigars, and porn magazines, which Igor enjoyed in the office which had been turned over to him.

  9. Posted April 27, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Oh, I think what we need from Taruskin might be an enlarged spleen or gall bladder.

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