Friday, August 24, 2007

This Week's Quiz

From Matthew Guerrieri comes another insane quiz. I am failing utterly on the great piece/terrible title and terrible piece/great title questions, but here we go.

1. What's the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?

I'll have to go with an obvious one, the quotation of "Non piu andrai" in the last act of Don Giovanni. Although, of course, the quotation from Tristan during Elisir is also very good. *

2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.

Cheating: Caruso's "Over There" and Melchior singing various pop tunes in his movie career.

3. Great piece with a terrible title.

4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?

Britten. Are you mad?

5. Who's your favorite spouse of a composer/performer? (Besides your own.)

Much as I'd like to cite Clara Schumann or Pauline Strauss, I have to pick Sir Peter Pears, the greatest of all musical muses. (I deeply regret missing Alma.)

My least favorite is Charles Seeger, because Ruth Crawford was destined for greater things than she accomplished as a composer.

6. Terrible piece with a great title.

7. What's the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?

Depends on your definition of warhorse, I guess. I am having to tie up my hands to keep from posting THAT piece in THAT movie. However, I can't keep away from Kubrick, so I'll say that Ligeti piano piece in "Eyes Wide Shut" or maybe the waltz in the same film.

8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.

Leontyne Price singing patriotic songs, maybe. I have a copy on LP and have never had the nerve to play it.

9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?

Sam Cooke.

10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.

Robertson Davies, who understands musicians so well, or maybe Lawrence Durrell, whose highly perfumed prose might be Zemlinsky or Sorabji or someone in between.

Opera nerd:
a. Are you kidding? Tibbett in a cakewalk.
b. Galli-Curci

Early music nerd:

I have never heard the 1950s recording of the Machaut mass with a mixed chorus of 50 and a symphony orchestra, but I love the idea.

* Heard only in an edition unique to San Francisco Opera. Right, it's the opening measure or so. It was side-splitting the first time, not so much the second.


Elaine Fine said...

Charles Seeger was indeed a lousy spouse for a composer, but Ruth Crawford WAS a great composer and wrote wonderful music. Her legacy will outweigh his by a longshot.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Definitely a great composer of great music, and I wish it was performed more. I think more people know his name & work than hers, though I could be wrong about that.

Steve Hicken said...

I agree with Elaine. You may be right, Lisa, about him being better known than her, but that won't last.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I can only hope. I had to find her more or less on my own - it's not like anyone discussed her or her music when I was in school.

Michael said...

I weighed in, too, although I may have been too cruel on the spouse question...

Lisa Hirsch said...

Very good answers, too!