Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I am sorry not to have been more active this last month. Some of it I blame on my Siamese Twin (we are pictured in our comely youth, which alas has fled) who uses the unpronounceable name, Albert Innaurato (who would call themselves that? I'd pick Mamet or Durang!) who has been asserting him/herself blogging at Musical America. His last there was called the Callas Cliche: 

It got him into trouble and that preposterous fascist, AC/DC Douglas complained. He has a rival blog and sent it to The Powers that Be, some thought it hysterically stupid, but poor Albert had to do some sweet surgery. Douglas is one of the Wagner creeps: that is he embraces the grotesque, hideous and horrible stories with their monstrous implications but NEVER talks about the music. Wagner, probably a transvestite -- he was a lady's man because he wanted to BE a lady --is only of value as a long winded, pretentious but remarkable composer, often of genius and genuinely a tremendous influence on those that followed, even those who hated his operas. I, Mrs. John Claggart, have dealt with Wagner's modulatory innovations in the otherwise appalling Parsifal, his undermining of tonality, his remarkable use of chromaticism there and his phenomenal orchestration, right here in my poor blog, despite being prone to spelling mistakes ("better prone than supine," our mother used to say when giving sad Albert and glorious me our sex education.) The grotesque story with its vision (explicit) of racial supremacy, gross misogyny and bogus religiosity is nauseating. But no one with an interest in music can ignore that aspect of the work -- except Douglas who in all the years that he has bored people at Opera-L has NEVER so much as mentioned a key change in Wagner. What a fool. Opera lovers often hate music but at least the queen who wants an unwritten high E flat at the end of act one of Traviata isn't embracing the ugliest sensibility in opera. 

I thought it amusing reading a typical discussion on Opera-L about whether Verdi had been influenced by Tristan und Isolde in Otello that Douglas could only make moronic generalizations. It's easily settled, he should know Tristan note by note, don't you think? One need only compare that score (free on line) with the score of Otello (free on line) to come up with a very specific point where Verdi shows he knew Tristan and remembered a particular sequence. Wagnerian techniques of transition and the shaping of lines are also present in the opera, which however remains a great work by Verdi, not a derivation. As do all professional composers (including ones called Wagner), Verdi used techniques taken from others that he thought worked for him in a particular piece. But I thought (Albert was too kind), what kind of pompous, perverted fraud has made Wagner his Christ but can't even make generalizations rooted in the music?

Oh well, "the idiots of the earth have ye with ye always," saith the Risen One, or those who were inventing him (take your pick) and we should leave it there.

I promise to write here more. I am really grateful to those who have joined (brave souls!), and appreciate all who read. I wish everyone whose eyes fall on this by accident or design a better new year than I am likely to have, in fact a wonderful new year. One needn't be a prophet to see that things are going badly in fecund America today (Emerson), so how long anyone has before things fall apart must be a matter of speculation. But I wish all who read as much joy as they can seize. 

Mrs. John Claggart