Monday, September 3, 2007

Still searching...

I find I'm still obsessed with the classical music anagrams, mainly because I haven't yet found the "perfect one." (You know, like Clint Eastwood becomes "Old West Action.") I especially like anagrams that convert to a single word, but those are hard to come by. Also, of course, it's important that the anagram reveal something meaningful. Gabriel Faure converts to "A Real Firebug," but that doesn't really describe him; "Beguiler Afar" is a little better as descriptor, but too contrived sounding. Heinrich Schütz converts amusingly to "Thresh Zucchini" and "Unhitch Scherzi"; since his Scherzi musicali are famously innovative, the latter sort of works, but it doesn't sound natural. [UPDATE: Just realized Monteverdi wrote Scherzi musicali, not the German Schütz. Well, I've never been a Schütz guy anyway.] The names Gilbert & Sullivan (minus the &) can become "Rivaling Bullets." Not bad. Actually, "Subtle Rivalling" is even better if you don't mind the British spelling, which is appropriate after all. As for the one-syllable options, in addition to large, butchers, phonic, and tameness, I've managed to come up with drive, sobbing, and meanest. Tameness is definitely the best of those.

What I like about this search is the possibility of finding a creative solution within a very tight constraint. I've written about constraints in the creative process several times before - in the work I did translating the rhyming and metered libretto of Gounod's Le médecin malgé lui into The Doctor in Spite of Himself, my favorite experience was discovering improbably effective rhymes that fit the meter, vocal line, and plot. It's amazing how flexible language is, but anagrams are maybe too inflexible. By the way, if anyone out there is looking for a fabulous comic opera in English translation, let me know (MMmusing at gmail dot com). The Gounod is a great piece (based on a very silly Molière play), and I've also prepared a reduced orchestration that would be kind to budgets and small voices. I'm planning to write more about that project soon, but I think my translation really works.

For anyone puzzled by any of the recent classical anagrams (scroll down to see others), I've posted solutions here.

Here's one more new one, using a last name only:

Sir Boldface

In cute-kid news, yesterday in church one of the readings from Hebrews ended with the well-known text, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." Immediately upon hearing this, our 2-year old softly began singing the opening of "Yesterday." No, that wasn't one of the hymns of the day.

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