[NOTE: This entry has been updated (2) as of 11:34 PM Eastern on 16 Jan. See below.]
In a recent post on a classical music blog which we charitably refrain from identifying, we found this, um, remarkable statement: "It is especially crazy [of Anthony Tommasini] to omit Monteverdi [from a list of the ten greatest composers in history].... He didn't invent opera, but he wrote operas that are in a class with Mozart's...," to which, in the post's comments section, and exercising utmost restraint, we responded laconically, "Not on this planet." We could have understood if perhaps not agreed with the statement had the author instead written, "Monteverdi didn't invent opera, but he wrote operas that are in a class with Gluck's." But Mozart's!? Mozart, the composer of operas that to this day represent the very pinnacle of the operatic art? And this an assertion made not by some opera-ignorant dummy, but made by one who's fairly knowledgeable about things operatic. But our astonishment didn't end there. Another, even more appalling assertion awaited us. In a following comment in that comments thread, another commenter declared that he "think[s] Hendrix and Beethoven are pretty much musical peers," and closed his comment by opining in response to our above laconic remark, "ACD- you are a hoot" to which we responded in our next — and last — comment in that comments thread, "This from someone who believes 'Hendrix and Beethoven are pretty much musical peers'." Not only was this person not shamed by this retort, he was positively defiant: "ACD- yes, musical peers. If you don't get that it's your problem, not mine. Maybe you need to be 'Experienced'," in response to which comment the blog's author offered reassuringly, "ACD has, ah, firm views on the classical canon versus the rest of the world. Good luck!" We swear we seriously considered we'd fallen down the rabbit hole unwittingly and perhaps should immediately begin looking around for Alice to inquire of her the fastest and safest way back. But, alas, it was no wonderland or looking glass world we'd fallen into, but still resident in the 21st-century world of postmodern culture where ideas, notions, and thinking such as that put in evidence above not only abound, but are fairly typical. Is it any wonder classical music is in trouble?
Update (12:34 AM Eastern on 15 Jan): Blogger Lisa Hirsch of Iron Tongue Of Midnight, the author of the unidentified blog post referred to in our opening graf, has expressed her dismay that we left her blog and her post unidentified as she asserts she's unashamed of what she wrote. We take her at her word and here supply the link to that previously unidentified post. It can be read in full here.
Update 2 (11:34 PM Eastern on 16 Jan): Oh dear. We've so far received five (count 'em!) eMails the substance of all of which is most succinctly expressed in the following eMail which we here, with permission, make public.
I see that Lisa Hirsch deleted a comment of yours to the post "Top Ten Composers: A Fool's Errand" on her blog Iron Tongue of Midnight. What dastardly thing did you say this time? Enquiring minds want to know. :-) Carol _______The fact of the matter is our comment wasn't in the least "dastardly". It was deleted by Ms. Hirsch so that she — in a true-to-form, junior-high-school-girl fit of pique — could make a public show of deleting it (i.e., she first published the comment which she didn't have to do, then deleted it so that it would show up publicly in the comments section as a comment by us deleted by her). Our deleted comment was in response to a comment addressed to us by John Marcher (he of "Hendrix and Beethoven are pretty much musical peers" fame) in reply to our writing:
Had you written something along the lines of, "In their respective domains, I think Hendrix and Beethoven are equally important and, in that sense, musical peers," instead of the blunt, patently absurd, "Hendrix and Beethoven are pretty much musical peers," no one, least of all myself, would have lodged any complaint or criticism. Perhaps in future you'll develop the skill to write what you actually mean.To which Mr. Marcher replied:
ACD- I did indeed write what I mean and I think it reasonable to assume the readers of Lisa's blog bring to the table a level of musical knowledge eliminating the need to have every statement explained as if one were sitting in class on the first day of Music 101. That the two [i.e., Hendrix and Beethoven] operate in different domains is a priori.In response to which we wrote:
This has nothing whatsoever to do with "bring[ing] to the table a level of musical knowledge eliminating the need to have every statement explained as if one were sitting in class on the first day of Music 101," and everything to do with the wording and apparent clear intent of your blunt, patently absurd initial comment. Had, for instance, say, Leonard Bernstein made such a blunt comment, everyone would have known the tacit underlying context of that comment and filled in the blanks, so to speak. But I and most others have no idea who John Marcher may or may not be. All we have to go on are the words John Marcher wrote, and the words John Marcher wrote have to be taken at their unambiguous face value; in this case a face value that's, as I've repeatedly remarked, patently absurd; something that could have been written only by a typical moron of the postmodern sort. See the difference?That was the entire content of our comment which Ms. Hirsch saw fit to first publish then delete in such a way as to have it show up publicly in the comments section as a comment by us deleted by her. Needless to say, because of this action (which is tantamount to not publishing our comment), and as we previously promised, we will never again submit a comment to any post on Iron Tongue Of Midnight.