Cori ardenti

So far, at least, I have spent 2011 feeling like I’m trying to swim through a pool of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I am just getting nothing done—or, if I am, it’s taking so long that, by the end of it, there’s not even any feeling of accomplishment left. Sunspots are back on the rise—can I blame that? Sure, why not.

I did start a blog post last week, after someone else on the Internet who has been known to say dumb things about classical music and culture said some exceptionally dumb things about classical music and culture—a kind of perverse masterpiece, in that I-can’t-turn-away, car-crash-footage sort of way—but I got about halfway in and realized that my heart just wasn’t in it. I’m beginning to think that one reason I like music better than, for want of more philosophically sturdy categories, we’ll call objective reality is that, in music, when something is just plain wrong it can still make your day. Nana Mouskouri singing Bellini, for instance:

That is wrong on so many levels—and I know them all, because I’ve listened to it about twelve times in a row. I think this is my new cure for moping around. For whatever reason, my opinion of humanity is just a little bit higher knowing that Nana Mouskouri did a cover of “Casta Diva.”

Anyway, there’s some new ruminations on Stravinsky and Bártok over at The Faster Times for your procrastinatory edification. Armed with the power of Nana Mouskouri, will I actually start posting there more than once every two months? Stay tuned.


  1. I read that same post saying those “exceptionally dumb things about classical music and culture” as well, and responded just as you above describe you did.

    Life is just too short.


  2. Lisa: I won't say. Like ACD says, life's too short.

    ACD: This was actually the product of a YouTube “Casta Diva” survey—including this rendition by a mutual favorite. I swear, if Netrebko didn't learn the aria by listening to Callas sing it about a thousand times, I'll eat my snow-covered hat. (The comparison with 1949 Callas is especially interesting.)

  3. Re, Netrebko and Callas: After listening to your two linked examples, I suspect you're right.

    But it's all good. N chose her model well and wisely. Gad!, what a meltingly beautiful aria that is.

    Re, your comments, re, Mouskouri: Uh…no comment.


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