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Larry Kart

Alex Ross of the New Yorker is, at times, an idiot

14 posts in this topic

I know I'm a jerk about such things, but writing in the 6/23 issue of the New Yorker about the New York Philharmonic Biennial festival, Ross says:

"Peter Eotvos won a large ovation for 'DoReMi,' a rich-hued concerto dedicated to the violinist Midori and constructed ingeniously from the letters of her name (mi,do, ri/e, or E, C,D)."

INGENIOUSLY??!! Does Ross not know that maybe thousands of composers, dating back to Bach and beyond, have written works whose thematic material is based on the equivalent pitches to someone's name?

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I think you are trying too hard. The comment is stupid but ...

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I think you are trying too hard. The comment is stupid but ...

Yes, I'm a jerk about such things. :) Better I should worry about Sunnis and Shiites.

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I'm, at times, an idiot and a jerk, often in conjunction. Can I get a gig writing for the Times? If so, how much does the gig pay, and will they pay cash?

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No doubt he is, aren't we all at times? But in tis instance, I wonder as my understanding is that "ingenuosly" doesn't necessarily mean with any degree of originality, does it? Just that it's cleverly constructed as were the other examples, presumably. May even be more clevely constructed depending on the letters in the name thats being represented? Just my thoughts....

Edited by mjazzg

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I don't think Ross is a good writer. Reminds me of Blake Gopnik, brother to Adam, who also writes for the New Yorker. Blake wrote about art in the Washington Post for several years, and had a slightly more condesending tone than Ross, but no less fervent about describing events and things. Everyone who was in the art scene in DC hated Blake.

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No doubt he is, aren't we all at times? But in tis instance, I wonder as my understanding is that "ingenuosly" doesn't necessarily mean with any degree of originality, does it? Just that it's cleverly constructed as were the other examples, presumably. May even be more clevely constructed depending on the letters in the name thats being represented? Just my thoughts....

Yes, I wondered about that. But if there are just three pitches involved, the manipulation of those pitches would have to be pretty darn ingenious to be regarded as ingenious.

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No doubt he is, aren't we all at times? But in tis instance, I wonder as my understanding is that "ingenuosly" doesn't necessarily mean with any degree of originality, does it? Just that it's cleverly constructed as were the other examples, presumably. May even be more clevely constructed depending on the letters in the name thats being represented? Just my thoughts....

Yes, I wondered about that. But if there are just three pitches involved, the manipulation of those pitches would have to be pretty darn ingenious to be regarded as ingenious.

Indeed. One man's "ingenious", another man's "and so?"....

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You could find worse examples, but I'll never dash an occasion to dump on the inane New Yorker/NYT/NPR nexus of deeply, deeply obnoxious music writing. They're also criminally mediocre tastemakers.

(Ben Ratliff is OK)

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You could find worse examples, but I'll never dash an occasion to dump on the inane New Yorker/NYT/NPR nexus of deeply, deeply obnoxious music writing. They're also criminally mediocre tastemakers....

Very much agreed, and I'm no fan of Ross. But perhaps the passage in question was sarcastic? [i couldn't find the article after a quick search.]

He may have been (a) damning the concerto with faint praise; (b) spoofing the program notes (which are sometimes incredibly fatuous). Not that I really want to defend Mr. Ross...

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I'm with Colinmce on the evil axis of arts writing. They all suck, with a vengeance; feel free to give as many examples as necessary.

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How about Adorno? He might suck, but ingenuously so ;)

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I'm sure Midori is a nice person and a fine musician but is her stature such that it commands a dedicatory composition like this, no matter how ingenious? Strikes me as a bit too clubby and maybe even sycophantic (surely commercial too). It certainly led Ross to some fawning. Anyway, that kind of bothers me.

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Eotvos spelled backwards is Sovtoe. You have been warned.

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