December 31, 2014

The final nail in Jean Piaget's coffin...

Boy, 2, accidentally shoots and kills mom in Idaho Walmart

The Associated Press  
Posted: Dec 30, 2014 3:29 PM ET

What a thrill it is to live in a world in which a fatal shooting by a 2-year-old is described by the media as accidental.  Could this act have been intentional?  A revenge for infrequent diaper changes and cheap baby formula?  A cold-blooded publicity stunt to secure a seven-figure book deal for the future memoir "The tot who fucked Jean Piaget and the entire field of Developmental Psychology"?

While the world contemplates the plausibility of such alternatives, I'm sure the retards at AP, BBC, Reuters, and other news outlets are struggling right this very moment to come up with headlines for the first day of the new year.  I feel like being helpful on this New Year's Eve, so how about this one: 

Cheerleader at Bennington College accidentally fellates six members of the basketball team.

November 12, 2014

People are strange...

As someone who deeply admires the otherworldly, alien music of Helmut Lachenmann, I was jolted when I recently read an interview with the pianist Rolf Hind in which he said that Lachenmann's favorite composer is ... Ennio Morricone.  (Rolf Hind worked closely with Lachenmann on the composer's piano concerto Ausklang.)

November 1, 2014

A truly biblical way to make a living...

The two or three thousand dollars ... I am paid for commissions recompenses my work at the rate of about twenty-five cents an hour.
Elliott Carter, "The Orchestral Composer's Point of View", The Orchestral Composer's Point of View: Essays on Twentieth-Century Music by Those Who Wrote It, R.S. Hines, ed., University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.

The minimum wage in the U.S.A. as of February 1970: $1.45 an hour.
source: Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Standards Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 1988 Report to the Congress under Section 4(d)(1) of the FLSA.

... to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 
The Book of Proverbs 22:1

October 24, 2014

It's only as bad as it sounds...

A hatchet-wielding man who attacked two police officers in New York City before he was shot to death was likely “just an angry guy” ...  a police source told ABC News.

And I thought "just an angry guy" is an expression suitable as a tagline for a Robin Williams comedy...

October 15, 2014

Wittgenstein against bloggers

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen
(Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.)
Ludwig Wittgenstein,  Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung (Tractatus Logico-Philosopicus)

Adding new posts to one's blog is like flossing, in that both activities make sense only if performed with some regularity.  Alas, a blogger cannot expect anything like regularity when it comes to having something worthwhile (interesting, meaningful) to say.  Which is why there are no genuinely Wittgensteinian bloggers.  As soon as they pop into existence, their blogs begin to fade into intervals of silence which stretch asymptotically to infinity, sort of like the ever slower ticking of a clock approaching the event horizon of a black hole.

Good thing I never took Wittgenstein's Tractatus seriously.  This, of course, doesn't make me special since neither did anyone else except for a few plodding souls who made up the so-called Vienna Circle in the late 1920s.  Still, as a blogger I thought it is time I certify my anti-Wittgensteinian stance by adding a post in which I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say.

July 15, 2014

NY Times exposes shocking musical fraud!

In describing Mahler's 9th Symphony - not a particular performance of it, but the composition itself - Anthony Tommasini informs us that this work "begins and ends with slow movements of nearly 30 minutes each."*
      Without imposing extravagant interpretations on the meaning of familiar English words, I take it for granted that any event lasting 25 minutes or less cannot be meaningfully  described as being "nearly 30 minutes".  (It is an arithmetical fact that 25 is as near to 20 as it is to 30.)  Which brings me to the shocking discovery - thanks to Dr. Tommasini - that some of our cherished recorded live performances of Mahler's 9th are actually examples of musical fraud because their timings (in the last movement) make it impossible for them to qualify as performances of Mahler's music: 

Bruno Walter & Vienna Philharmonic (1938): 18 min 12 sec
George Szell & Cleveland Orchestra (1969): 21 min 30 sec
Otto Klemperer & Vienna Philharmonic (1968): 24 min 11 sec

Of course, some may object to the charges of musical fraud against these three conductors by pointing out that two of them (Walter, Klemperer) were Mahler's friends and disciples, while the third (Szell) was already a young performing conductor and pianist in Vienna when Mahler was still alive.   Alas, this feeble attempt to protect the reputation of the above maestros is laughably unconvincing.  After all, when it comes to how long a movement of a Mahler symphony must last, who would you believe: some baton-waving Mahler's pals who probably didn't even have college degrees, or chief music critic for the New York Times who has a doctorate in music?

* Tommasini, A., "Mahler's Haunting Ruminations at the Abyss", New York Times, June 6, 2008, italics mine.

July 1, 2014

What's in a name?

When two or more mathematicians, working collaboratively or independently, make essential contributions to solving a particular mathematical problem, the result is traditionally given a hyphenated name, such as the Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser theorem in dynamical systems theory, or the Fokker-Planck equation in statistical mechanics.
I wonder what would have happened to this naming tradition if the German-American mathematician Jürgen Moser and the Dutch mathematical physicist Adriaan Fokker had proved the same important theorem.  Just put yourself in the shoes of a mathematics professor who has to announce to his class:

Today we will be discussing  the Moser-Fokker theorem.

May 26, 2014

Language on holiday...

In a recent article from The Telegraph, Victoria Scott, a British woman living in Qatar, describes various worthwhile things one can do to feel more at home in that tiny country.  One of such things (italics mine) is to

... watch the Qatar Philharmonic play.

I expect that after Ms Scott gets to live in a few more places around the world, she will suggest for us to

smell the Bolshoi Ballet while in Moscow,  
listen to Rothko paintings while in Houston, and
taste the pyramids while in Egypt.

In the mean time, congratulations to The Telegraph (founded in 1855) on filling their editorial positions with hopeless cultural retards...

May 1, 2014

I must be missing something...

For a woman who plays not a note of contemporary music in her public recitals, what does this publicity photo supposedly promise to those who pay to hear Khatia Buniatishvili play the numbingly familiar works of Liszt, Chopin, and Schumann?  A sensuous massage backstage during the intermission?  A slow striptease to accompany the dying away of final notes in Schumann's Fantasy Op.17?   Or is it simply a desperate attempt to divert everyone's attention from the fact that Khatia has never been able to give a clean execution of a single technically demanding piece in her repertoire (at least not in the dozens of live recordings I've heard before giving up on this pianist)?

April 18, 2014

Language on holiday

Horse gives birth to twin girls

April 12 - Horse owners in Oklahoma celebrate the birth of extremely rare twins, but worry about the health risks. 

*   *   *   *   *

Girls?  When did Reuters begin to employ as writers and editors such hopeless imbeciles?  Not only do they seem ignorant of a perfectly good English word - filly - for a young female horse under the age of four, but they also see nothing wrong with a headline that belongs in a supermarket tabloid like the National Enquirer.

Lest you think I made this up, here is the URL of that Reuters webpage.

April 13, 2014

A birthday gift of a lifetime...

Composed in 2004 as a gift for Pierre Boulez on his 80th birthday, Carter's 10-minute long sparkling and playful ensemble piece Reflexions strikes me as his most overt hommage to Haydn's musical humor.  It is impossible to hear the comic contribution from contrabass clarinet (at the limit of the instrument's low register) without recalling the comic bassoon fart in the Andante of Haydn's Symphony No.93.

Recently I was surprised to discover that the best engineered live recording of this piece in my collection has never been offered on this blog.  This performance - with Boulez conducting Ensemble Intercontemporain - took place at the Concertgebouw on February 26, 2005 (only 10 days after the world premiere in Paris).

March 4, 2014

Those memorable photo ops...

Furtwangler's reputation will never live down this photo op with his patron Adolf Hitler:

Karajan's reputation will be forever tarnished by his Nazi Party ID card:

I hope the eager musical serfs of today's tyrants will pay a similar price: 

January 12, 2014

Mongoloids on the loose #2

If I were granted only one wish before I die, I would ask to meet the fucking retard(s) responsible for this CD booklet, so as to find out

(1)  which "unforgettable concert" I am supposed to feel present at when listening to this recording, and

(2) which "great occasion" is preserved on a recording spliced from segments taped at multiple concerts.