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Classical Notes

Mencken on music

Posted at 8:08 AM on September 12, 2006 by John Zech (1 Comments)
Filed under: The blog

The "Sage of Baltimore," H. L. Mencken was born on this date (in Baltimore...duh!!) in 1880.

It would be interesting to have the old cynic writing in the blogosphere today (he said "the cynics are right nine times out of ten"). One of the many subjects he touched on was music.

"The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral."

"Opera in English is, in the main, about as sensible as baseball in Italian"

"There are, indeed, only two kinds of music: German music and bad music."

He also said, "It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf."

Hmmm. Well, Mozart liked billiards, anyway, even if he wasn't necessarily good at the game.


Comments (1)

another favorite (not exactly PC anymore...)

The waltz, wrote H.L. Mencken in 1919 "is magnificently improper -- the art of tone turned lubricious. There is something about a waltz that is irresistible. Try it on the fattest and sedatest or even on the thinnest and most acidulous of women, and she will be ready, in ten minutes, for a stealthy smack behind the door -- nay, she will forthwith impart the embarrassing news that her husband misunderstands her and drinks too much and is going to Cleveland, O. on a business trip tomorrow."

Posted by John Birge | September 12, 2006 9:16 AM