Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay
mhw

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O(rff) RLY?

Apparently BBC Radio 2[1] has had a list compiled of the most-played[2] "classical"[3] music of the past 75 years. It's predictably commonplace, as you might expect, and you can see it here. You can see the BBC News article about it here, too.

So much, so dull.

What amused/irked[4] me beyond belief, though, is Stephen Fry's comment about "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, which came top of the list. As reported in the BBC News article, he pronounced: "For some reason, it almost sounds satanic, although it's actually a religious piece."

Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce! Religious? It's a setting of a poem about the capriciousness of fate. The text is here, if any of you should be unfamiliar with it.

I know that some of you happen to be Twitterers, so if any of you want to twit Fry about this, get composing your pithy one-liners. I can't wait to hear him blustering "But Fortuna was a Roman goddess, you know!"

[1] For those of you not in the know, Radio 2 is not normally considered to be a "classical" music station; that would be Radio 3.

[2] Most-played, that is, on TV, radio, online streaming and in public places such as shops. Background music for advertisements and elevator music, in other words.

[3] See rants on this passim: the Classical period in music runs roughly from J S Bach to Beethoven. Just about everything on the list is actually from the later Romantic and Modernist periods (with a few honourable exceptions including JSB, Vivaldi and, my goodness, Zipoli). Calling every piece of serious music "classical" is about as egregious as calling all architectural columns "Corinthian" would be.

[4] There should be a single word for this feeling.
Tags: music, rant
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