I'm fried, and completely stressed out over the number of tasks I'm currently trying to juggle -- and the good Dr. LP has departed for distant shores, not to return until December. (I'll be joining her in late September, but that's a story for another post.) All things considered, what better time to give in to the pleasant distraction of Matthew Guerrieri's latest quiz?
1. What's the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?
The sneering parody of Shostakovich's "Leningrad" Symphony in Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, with seriously honorable mention to Warren Benson's evocation of Bach's "Eine feste Burg" in The Leaves Are Falling and Karel Husa's quotation of the Hussite anthem "Ye Warriors of God and His Law" in Music for Prague 1968. (Is my wind-band background showing?)
2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.
East Village Opera Company - La Donna (Canal). A success because these guys obviously respect the rawk as much as the opera. Who else could pull off a wedding of Rossini and Eminem? Also, pretty much anything by Isao Tomita (kudos to Tears of a Clownsilly).
3. Great piece with a terrible title.
I wanted to be clever and cite David Lang's Eating Living Monkeys, but I've never actually heard it. (Plus, the title is actually kind of great.) So I'll echo the obvious choice: Kindertotenlieder.
4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?
6. Terrible piece with a great title.
Grendel. (And I'm not referring to the song by Marillion.)
7. What's the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?
If Aria counts as a "Hollywood movie," then Franc Roddam's Liebestod segment absolutely guts me. Otherwise, Beethoven's Ninth and Rossini's overture to La Gazza Ladra in A Clockwork Orange.
8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.
Michael Bolton - My Secret Passion: The Arias (Sony). Sincerity doesn't even elevate Michael up to Andrea Bocelli's level.
9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.
My immediate impulse was J.M.W. Turner, but that probably would have resulted in a murkier Debussy with an inappropriate accent. So I'll vote for Diego Velásquez, with a very close also-ran for John Singer Sargent.
For opera nerds: If you had to choose:
a) Lawrence Tibbett or Robert Merrill?
b) Amelita Galli-Curci or Lily Pons?
Merrill and Galli-Curci.
For early-music nerds: Name a completely and hopelessly historically uninformed recording that you nevertheless love.
Simone Dinnerstein's intense take on Bach's Goldberg Variations -- although I hesitate here just because "completely and hopelessly uninformed" seems to imply a lack of sympathy and insight into what can make this piece an experience, which is certainly not the case here.
Thanks, Matthew, for the welcome diversion.