I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Bad music, good fun

One doesn’t expect immediacy from music criticism a hundred years old but how about this:

“I have long since learnt to leave my commonsense at the door when I go to the opera.” Faced with Hamlet by Frenchman Ambroise Thomas the writer continues: “Mlle Richard never faces the other dramatis personae but tacks around them, looking at them out of the corners of her eyes and agitating her bosom with a tireless persistence that must be the result of long practice.”

Adding: “(Ophelia) goes to the water and drowns herself, in token whereof  her ‘double’ presently appears supine on a sort of toboggan car, and shoots along feet foremost through the bulrushes to the prompt side.”

Given that Mrs LdP and I decided not to retain our seats for the second act of the following opera I was pleased to read: “In vain the weeping staff  (of the newspaper the writer worked for) held out stall tickets for Her Majesty’s Theatre to me with imploring gestures. I folded my arms and said that if the name of Lucia di Lammermoor were mentioned in my presence again my resignation would follow instantaneously.”

On the working class and oratorios. “There are working men who delight in piety – who join the Salvation Army, or drag their unfortunate children evening after evening to dismal chapels, where their poor little imaginations are filled with eternal torment, vengeance, sin and the devil. Others there be who go to secular halls and revel in demonstrations that Moses thought the earth flat, and if any of the four evangelists told the truth the other three necessarily told lies.”

GBS of course.

Blessed Redeemer - 73,773 words. Now it’s going too quickly.


  1. It was thinking the other day that it qas about time that you or someone else mentioned Shaw. He seem to have gone out of fashion as a playwright and as as music critic he seems to be largely forgotten, present company excepted. Perhaps Tone Deaf will begin a revival of interest.

  2. Plutarch As to the plays, they seem to come back in clumps at perhaps ten- or fifteen-year intervals, often dictated by some kind of anniversary or other. I think we notice Shaw's absences but not the absences of say Tchekhov and Ibsen. Another driver tends to be the BBC which is where I've seen most of my Shaw; there's been a continuing fashion at the BBC for costume drama but for some reason or other we don't see Shaw in those terms. Shaw does create scheduling problems because of the length of some of the plays.

    As to the music criticism that requires a special champion since - unlike the plays and apart from what he had to say about Wagner - it's static, going nowhere. Would you say the same about literary criticism? Where are Lionel Trilling, VS Pritchett or even Leavis these days?

  3. I remember seeing a set of Shaw's music criticism in a book shop in the Caring Cross Road, many years ago. I always rather lambasted myself for not buying it. So it is good to see it reviewed here on Tone Deaf, which shows it to be alive and still out there.