My favorite blog-reading moment from the weekend concerned Jeremy Denk's little comeuppance on learning that a soundtrack moment (from Ice Age: The Meltdown, of all things) he loved was not by some undiscovered Hollywood composer, but rather by Aram Khachaturian! Denk, in the midst of one of his inimitably rhapsodic, dream-like bits, had opined, "Whoever wrote the music for this scene, I declare him or her a genius, one of the greatest living musical geniuses, and I refuse to back down from this." When a reader then ID'd Khachaturian as the "genius," I was disappointed to see that Denk backed down. True, everything he writes is on the border of tongue-in-cheek (tongue-approaching-cheek?), but it's funny how he felt one way thinking he'd uncovered something special in the hack world of Hollywood, but his opinion instantly changed on realizing he'd just saluted one of the great classical hacks. "Everything is contextual," Denk concluded. Well, yes, but it also shows how much we tend to be influenced by what we think we're supposed to think - even an iconoclast like Denk is alarmed to discover he unwittingly gave big props to the Sabre Dance man.
So, in addition to my very subjective lists of favorite movies, I'll proudly keep Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro on my list of favorite musical works - and Kreisler makes Khachaturian look like Kirchner.