October 01, 2008

Brahms the Progressive

Why yes, I am procrastinating.


Anonymous said...

I suspect you are pretty good at it. Did you get to either performance of the German Requiem?

Alex Ross said...

¡No pasarán!

rbonotto said...

Che Johannes, populist of the Hungarian Dance.

At the head of each of the chapters of my classical-music murder mystery, I put composers' quotations. For Brahms (and I don't remember the book I took it from): after a particularly unsocial party, he's supposed to have said on leaving, "A thousand pardons if there's anyone I haven't insulted tonight."

Matthew said...

Bill: I missed it. But I did see them perform "Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen" as a tribute to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson a couple summers ago, so I can kind of imagine.

Alex: No passing fifths, at any rate.

Robert: That quote was actually invented by Brahms' friend, the Viennese wit Béla Haas—but the fact that it seems so true is a testament to Haas's perspicacity. (It sounds like something Kalbeck's biography would have passed off as fact.)

rbonotto said...

Dang. I'll have to fix that.

This is one of those stories Slonimsky loved to debunk (while he had a good time giving birth to others). Reminds me of another one, W.C. Fields' "Any man who hates kids and dogs can't be all bad" ... which I think was actually said *about* Fields by Leo Rosten.