It's that time of year again—the shopping, the malls, the conspicuous consumption—you know, gift time. And you're completely stymied as to what to get the composer in your life. CDs? Pens? A paying job? Here's a few suggestions to help cross those remaining names off your list.
Is it baby's first Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Dies Natalis Solis Invicti? Soothe the little prodigy to sleep in the new year with a brand-new music box—a Stockhausen music box, that is! Yes, the tinkling sounds of one of the foremost avant-garde composers of our fractured modern world can inspire your infant to dream of being an angel made completely of light accompanying the vibrations of space and time themselves on a cosmic trumpet. Once they get to Kindergarten, imagine how quotidian the other children will seem! (Actually, when I was a toddler, I had a beloved music box that played the theme from "Camelot," and look how I turned out. Imagine if I had been winding up one of these.)
If all you want for Christmas is to escape your humdrum existence, you're in luck—now you can be Pulitzer-prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass for a day! Heck, you can be Michael Colgrass for the rest of your life once you find his entire archive of manuscripts and correspondence in your stocking. For a mere $135,000, you can fill your files with actual honored works commissioned by major ensembles, and leave a stack of mail from the likes of Sessions, Stravinsky, Cage, Copland, Persichetti, and Harold Pinter on your kitchen counter. Identity theft has never been so classy. Extra fun: go to town with a pencil and an eraser and hopelessly confuse generations of future musicologists!
Know somebody who turns every backyard cookout into an immolation scene? Someone who sends every steak and chop to a charred, kerosene-scented Valhalla? Let them tend that magic fire in style with this Richard Wagner BBQ apron. Now your Saturday-afternoon Siegfried can grill those burgers until they're tougher than Nothung itself, and remain unmolested by the Fafner and Fasolt of spills and splatters—so that once your meal is plunged into a river of inedibility, he'll still be clean enough to take you out. (OK, OK, I'll stop now.)
The female (or cross-dressing) scribbler on your list will love these "Composer" pumps by designer Richard Tyler. The shoe "features corset-style lacing" over a leopard-print insert—nothing says "music of the future" like faux-leopard bondage gear! Besides, it's "flirty"—and we all know how composers need to attract new audiences. (What? You want them to like you for your music? Good luck with that.)
And finally, for the person who has everything, and thus is in desperate need of sabotage from jealous colleagues, head over to eBay for this copy of Pietro Deiro and Alfred d'Auberge's Atonal Studies for Accordion. After your successful composer tastes the forbidden fruit of the 12-tone squeezebox, everything else will seem bland and pointless—and the resulting string of Schoenbergian polkas will send that once-promising career further south than Roald Amundsen. (Honestly? I want this one bad. And the music box, too. I love that music box. And I've been pretty good this year! I mean, for me.)