Saturday, 31 October 2020

a duet for two lutenists but just one lute

From the always resourceful Kottke, we are serenaded with a selection (juried by the BBC) of the fifteen strangest compositions in the classical canon, not only for their scoring and instrumentation but also for how they were performed—like the Helicopter String Quartet (Hubschrauber-Streichquartett) by Karlheiz Stockhausen (see previously)—or their subject matter like Lord Berners’ jaunty Funeral March for a Rich Aunt or Gioachino Rossini’s Duetto buffo di due gatti, that is his Cat Duet that made fun of stage divas and has two sopranos mewing at one another. Our favourite story, however, came from Leopold Mozart, who had a reputation for being a domineering stage father only interesting in living vicariously by driving his son Wolfgang Amadeus and daughter Nannerl to success, that the Toy Symphony (1760, Kindersinfonie oder Berchtesgaden-Musik) he wrote seemed so out of character that for years it was attributed to the far more genial and gregarious Joseph Haydn.