Slonimski was a conductor and promoter of new music - one of his Varèse concerts is a featured target - so the book's polemical intent is obvious: "Your great-grandfather thought Wagner was unmusical cacophony, so be careful what you say about the stuff I'm pushing."
The real pleasure for me was discovering just how aggressive music critics could be in the 19th century. Wagner and Brahms in particular seem to have driven critics into a spittle-flecked frenzy. I'm also fond of the topical index at the back, with entries like "Cat (amorous)", "Chaos", "Sexuality (sticky, frog-like)" etc.
Probably my favourite classical music book. I wonder if anyone's ever done the same thing for criticism in other genres?
― scriblerus (mike lynch), Thursday, 26 October 2006 01:31 (fourteen years ago) link
― m0stly clean (m0stly clean), Thursday, 26 October 2006 02:01 (fourteen years ago) link
― Turangalila (Salvador), Thursday, 26 October 2006 07:06 (fourteen years ago) link
This is great:
Yes, there actually was a time when musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky could be a guest on the Tonight Show—and it's finally on YouTube. https://t.co/SFnVQlv1v2 He talks with Johnny Carson about John Coltrane, polyrhythms, Frank Zappa, etc. (h/t Rob McAlear). pic.twitter.com/SdRAqKkuvo— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) January 10, 2021
― Sharp! Distance! (Sund4r), Monday, 11 January 2021 04:58 (two weeks ago) link