I hope Teach will accept late work! It's time for another irresistible quiz from Soho the Dog--
1. What's the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?
I always get a laugh from Debussy poking fun at the five-finger exercises of Carl Czerny in the first étude.
2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.
To say "best" would be to imply that crossover can be good, but I have been able to stand Juan Diego Flórez's Sentimiento Latino and Sting's Songs from the Labyrinth.
Giuseppina Strepponi, photograph from 1896
Mahler, Symphony of a Thousand. It's not really terrible, but it is a pedestrian title and usually inaccurate.
4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?
Benjy, hands down.
5. Who's your favorite spouse of a composer/performer? (Besides your own.)
Giuseppina Strepponi, the tough-minded soprano (and unofficial business manager) who lived with Verdi for over a decade (shocking!) before they made it official and got married. The voice in her letters is so memorable.
6. Terrible piece with a great title.
Osvaldo Golijov, Oceana. As a big fan of Pablo Neruda's poetry, I so wanted to like this, but it only reinforced my misgivings about Golijov. He is good at catchy rhythms and evocative colors, but after one hearing, which was pleasant enough, I find little reason to return. "Oceana! Oceana! Oce! Oce! cea! cea! ana! ana!" Next.
7. What's the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?
Carmina Burana and Tristan und Isolde in Excalibur; or Schubert's Ave Maria at the end of Alive.
Excalibur ("Guards! Knights! Squires!")
8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.
Sarah Brightman's entire God-forsaken catalogue. That woman must be stopped.
9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
Both great singers, but if forced to choose, it would be the Washingtonian, Marvin Gaye.
10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.
Ingmar Bergman or Wassily Kandinsky. They already thought in musical terms.
For opera nerds: If you had to choose:
a) Lawrence Tibbett or Robert Merrill?
Robert Merrill, natch.
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Canciones Españolas, Teresa Berganza, Narciso Yepes
Lily Pons, but I have a weakness for French singers. I would like to hear more of La Galli-Curci, though.
For early-music nerds: Name a completely and hopelessly historically uninformed recording that you nevertheless love.
Teresa Berganza's album Canciones Españolas, with guitarist Narciso Yepes, is a rare operatic foray into early music. The album opens with one of the Cantigas de Santa Maria by Alfonso El Sabio and has pieces by Luys de Narváez and Luis de Milán from the Renaissance, too. It is a world away from historically informed (hah!), but the chance to hear Berganza's glorious voice that close and with such a small accompaniment is luxurious. The album has just been re-released last month.