Sorry it’s been quiet around here, but I’ve been busy gearing up to respond to the new standards for history textbooks imposed by the Texas School Board. Like all good Americans, I want a piece of that action—textbooks are high-margin! So I’ve been coming up with a music history text that’ll reorient a thousand years of Western music away from liberal brainwashing and towards divinely-sanctioned American exceptionalism. Here goes:
Jazz was invented by Paul Whiteman as a musical expression of his love for traditional values.
Oh, and George Gershwin borrowed from the blues a lot because he was sad he wasn’t a Christian. Yeah, that’ll work. (And I agree that textbooks always overlook Joe McCarthy’s achievements. For example, the man could drink like a fish.)
In other news, I’ve been horribly remiss about linking to Globe reviews. Here’s a couple recent ones:
Reviewing Michael Maniaci and Boston Baroque. (May 10, 2010)
Reviewing the Back Bay Chorale. (May 17, 2010)
In the Maniaci review, I talk about speculation that Venanzio Rauzzini, Mozart’s favorite castrato, wasn’t a castrato at all, but a natural male soprano. (More detailed speculation here.) I don’t know if I buy it, though, especially after reading this contemporary description, from the April, 1807 issue of a magazine called The Monthly Mirror:
SIGNOR VENANZIO RAUZZINI, the subject of our present memoir, is by birth a Roman, and at a very early period of life evinced a fondness for music, which induced his parents to devote him, as it were, entirely to the study of that enchanting science.
As it were. On the other hand, the story about Haydn composing a setting of the epitaph for Rauzzini’s dog is totally true.
As long as we’re housecleaning, I found this on my hard drive. I have no idea why I originally made it. So here it is to haunt your dreams for no reason: