Thursday, November 22, 2007

Classical Vanity

Driving home from Thanksgiving Dinner tonight (in our brand-new, mid-life crisis inducing minivan), my eyes were caught by a license plate that read: 387 ANO. It caught my eyes because, in spite of my ever deteriorating memory for such things, the 387 immediately declared itself to me as the Köchel number for one of Mozart's well-known quartets. I'll be honest and admit that at the time I thought it was the number for the "Dissonant" quartet, even though I'd correctly ID'd that as K. 465 in my last post. I now realize K. 387 is a different well-known quartet, one that showed up in a couple of classes I took way back when; like baseball fans for whom 56, 406, and 714 are immediate triggers, musicians inevitably find that certain numbers have strong associations.

After spending a little time trying to make sense of the ANO, my thoughts soon turned to other possibilities for classical music vanity plates. After all, what's more vain than a musician showing off his knowledge of catalog numbers and the like? I made up my own informal rules for this. Licenses that pair numbers and letters in the usual manner are best, and awkward abbreviations are a virtual must. (Anyone could come up with the likes of CARMEN or HANON.) I like plates that are just obscure enough to make someone feel smart for getting it, but I didn't want to get too random. (No references to the catalogs of Telemann or C.P.E. Bach.) The final rule was not to spend too much time on this, so here's a quick and informal list, in no particular order, of plates I'd like to see:

[Most are pretty obvious, but clicking the licenses should answer any questions.]

[UPDATE: Since posting, I added the graphics, including the "authentic" plate you see up above. Of course, were I to try fleeing the scene with such a license number, I'd be making things much easier for the cops. "Yeah, officer, the plates definitely said EZK 545 - just like my kid played at last week's recital -I'll never forget - I could read'em 'cause first he started driving away nice and innocent, like he hadn't done nothing wrong. Two blocks of that, with me following along in my little Alberti ride - it's Italian - and then he takes off, starts doin' u-turns this way and that - I couldn't keep up - which is funny, 'cause my boy couldn't play those scales in tempo either. I lost'im when he hit G street, but I know that was the number, EZK 545 - and you can tell he's arrogant, driving so recklessly and calling that sonata easy. You expect that kind of attitude with a sports car, but he was in a minivan. Probably has kids of his own, poor things..."]

UPDATE 2: Sarah and Rob have suggested the following. (I hope I got them right.):


Sarah Marie said...

How about DSCH 47?

Rob said...


Elaine Fine said...

I actually have a friend who has DSCH 8 on her plates. You can't get more self-referential than that.