Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Musical E-Mails

E-mails from two good friends.

Today, December 11, is the 94th birthday of American composer Elliott Carter, whose name is known to anyone who knows me. Carter is still active -- more than active, actually. He is still composing with astonishing fluency (though I must say my own favorite music of his remains the great middle-period pieces composed from 1959 to about 1980). In October last year, as New York City was recovering from the shock of September 11, Yo-Yo Ma performed Carter's terrific new Cello Concerto at Carnegie Hall, with Daniel Barenboim conducting. In April 2003, the Boston Symphony is scheduled to perform a new "Boston Concerto."

If you do the math, depending on whether you date Carter's discovery of his compositional voice with the Piano Sonata of 1946, the First Quartet of 1951, or even the Second Quartet of 1959, you find his "mature" period has lasted longer than Mozart's entire life, and perhaps a year or two longer than Beethoven's.

Yesterday, I received a brief e-mail from Carter expert and confidant David Schiff, who said he saw Carter a few days ago and he was in very good spirits, which is heartening news.


second e-mail

Oh, and I think Christmas is coming up, too.


The next e-mail is from another friend and is of a somewhat different import:

"George's Song" (Author unknown)
To the tune "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."

If we cannot find Osama, Bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your Mama, Bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi
And the bank takes back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy, Bomb Iraq.

If the corporate scandals growin', Bomb Iraq.
And your ties to them are showin', Bomb Iraq.
If the smoking gun ain't smokin'
We don't care, and we're not jokin'.
That Saddam will soon be croakin', Bomb Iraq.

Even if we have no allies, Bomb Iraq.
From the sand dunes to the valleys, Bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections;
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions, Bomb Iraq.

While the globe is slowly warming, Bomb Iraq.
Yay! the clouds of war are storming, Bomb Iraq.
If the ozone hole is growing,
Some things we prefer not knowing.
(Though our ignorance is showing), Bomb Iraq.

So here's one for dear old daddy, Bomb Iraq,
From his favorite little laddy, Bomb Iraq.
Saying no would look like treason.
It's the Hussein hunting season.
Even if we have no reason, Bomb Iraq.

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