Friday, August 24, 2007

Soho Quiz

My answers to the latest Soho the Dog quiz:

1. What's the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?
"Jesus Loves Me" in the second movement of Ives' 4th violin sonata. (Yeah, I know, Ives quotes all the time, so this isn't that original as an answer – but what he does with that tune is so beautiful.)
2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.
Pincus and the Pig: A Klezmer Tale is perhaps better than the original - certainly the narration is a big improvement on Prokofiev's clumsy tale. (Though not an entire album, Arleen Auger singing "Before I Gaze at You Again" is my favorite crossover track.)
3. Great piece with a terrible title.
Chichester Psalms (Maybe it's not a "terrible" title, but it just doesn't sound right for this very American, very Jewish piece. I think dedicatee titles like this and "Dumbarton Oaks" often end up sounding too limiting. )
4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?
Britten, 8 days a week
5. Who's your favorite spouse of a composer/performer? (Besides your own.)
Mahler's muse. (No, it's not Alma. Hat tip to Elaine Fine.)
6. Terrible piece with a great title.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (I haaaaaate this song. It's so whiny.)
7. What's the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?
Letter duet from The Marriage of Figaro in The Shawshank Redemption
8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.
Sting sings Dowland.
9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
No opinion.
10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.
Arnold Schoenberg (He started out so well . . .)
For early-music nerds: Name a completely and hopelessly historically uninformed recording that you nevertheless love.
I grew up with the Bernstein recording of Messiah and I love it – especially the weighty overture. All the "informed" up-tempo, light versions of the overture drive me crazy. Clearly, though, I'm not an early music nerd.

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