Lexicon Musical Invective
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The Lexicon of Musical Invective:  Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven’s Time, Nicolas Slonimsky, new foreword by Peter Schickele (W. W. Norton, New York).  “Generally regarded as an incomprehensible production, the depths of which (if they really were depths) it was impossible to fathom” is from just one of hundreds of unfavorable reviews of classical music (in this case of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis) which Russian-American musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky collected together in 1953.  The reviews in this book provide a fascinating look at how some reviewers intensely disliked musical works that are now widely regarded as masterpieces, and the “invecticon” at the end of the book lets you look up descriptions like “tortured mistuned cackling” and “topsy-turviest doggerel of sounds” in order to track down which reviews contained them.  This book so intrigued Peter Schickele that he devoted an entire episode of Schickele Mix to it, and also contributed a new foreword to this more recent edition of the book published in 2000.

Chapter Listing:

Foreword by Peter Schickele
Prelude:  Non-Acceptance of the Unfamiliar
Lexicon of Musical Invective
    Bartók
    Beethoven
    Berg
    Berlioz
    Bizet
    Bloch
    Brahms
    Bruckner
    Chopin
    Copland
    Cowell
    Debussy
    Franck
    Gershwin
    Gounod
    Harris
    D’Indy
    Krenek
    Liszt
    Mahler
    Milhaud
    Moussorgsky
    Prokofiev
    Puccini
    Rachmaninoff
    Ravel
    Reger
    Riegger
    Rimsky-Korsakov
    Ruggles
    Saint-Saëns
    Schoenberg
    Schumann
    Scriabin
    Shostakovitch
    Sibelius
    Strauss
    Stravinsky
    Tchaikovsky
    Varčse
    Verdi
    Wagner
    Webern
    Invecticon
    Index of Names and Titles
    Supplement

 

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