I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"POSH MUSIC"

What constitutes "posh" music? There has been some discussion recently about this subject on the musical blog "Tone Deaf".

It is not, necessarily, inaccessible music and an inspired teacher can make classical music understandable to some who would never have considered it.



I always found that impenetrable character T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), a.k.a. T.E.Shaw, fascinating. This letter he sent to Sir Edward Elgar covers the subject beautifully, I think.

13 comments:

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

That is a beautiful letter. Isn't it sad that letter-writing no longer happens (or rarely). I must have a listen to that piece of music he's described ... probably on Youtube ironically enough.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

I tend to treat TEL with a good deal of suspicion: he did a heck of lot of fibbing in his life. But I think we can take this letter at face value. Mind you...

Neither the second symphony nor the violin concerto are immediately accessible pieces of music and perhaps TEL wrote the letter to show that he, at least, had the intellect to overcome these problems of comprehension. But what the heck. It's just music, Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

Re, "posh". I've always hated "classical" as a way of labelling a certain category of music. The word hints at that special kind of English snobbism whereby people who did Greats at Oxbridge are somehow thought to be superior to those who did maths and physics. There's a built-in elitism.

I invited people to suggest alternatives, the winner being awarded my Colin Davies version of Cosi Fan Tutte. (That was a mistake: it's only now available in the USA, but I kept my promise). It was my brother, Sir Hugh, who suggested "posh" and after a certain amount of pondering I decided I could live with it. It does sound mildly jeering but I reckoned given the context of my newer blog, Tone Deaf, people would recognise I was using it knowingly. I am delighted to report that some commenters to my blog do use the word as intended.

Avus said...

Kay:
I do agree that letter writing (with a real fountain pen and ink)is to be missed. Although we email our daughter (HHnB)frequently, in Oz both she and we do write the occasional letter to and fro. Both the writing and the receipt are so much more meaningful.
With this email age there will not be any "Letters of...." books in the future. Ironically, this instant messaging age will lead to a lack of archive.

LdP:
Yes, TEL had, I am sure, his fantasies and some of his book "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" may be in that class - but what a great work of literature. This is what makes him so interesting to me - trying to get under the skin of the "real" Lawrence. There must have been something about his character for the author John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir PC GCMG GCVO CH, Governor General of Canada, to have commented "I would follow him to the ends of the earth".

Vita said...

Posh. Hmmmm. Can I use that in place of Classical in all instances, except as opposed to Romantic or Baroque, say?

Avus said...

Vita:
Better ask Lorenzo da Ponte! See his link to comment above.

Avus said...

Vita:

P.S. - Did you ever get "Country Boy" and read it?

Vita said...

I got Country Boy, and only started it before getting several other books piled on top of it! Funny thing. Himself just received the Seven Pillars of Wisdom from Amazon, so I asked where he got the idea. Answer was it came to him while reading a motorcycle book, Fast Company, by David M. Gross. I told himself what Lorenzo da Ponte said about TEL.

Anonymous said...

I would like to speak with you re: TE Lawrence, but is there a more private way to do it?

Anonymous said...

I would like to speak with you re: TE Lawrence, but is there a more private way to do so?

Anonymous said...

I would like to speak with you re: TE Lawrence, is there a more private way to do so?

Anonymous said...

I would like to speak with you re: TE Lawrence, is there a more private way to do so?

stella spencer said...

I would like to speak with you re: TE LAWRENCE...is there a more private way to do it?

stella spencer said...

I would like to speak with you re: TE LAWRENCE...is there a more private way to do it?