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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Stephen Fry's Incomplete & Utter History of Classical MusicStephen Fry's Incomplete & Utter History of Classical Music by Stephen Fry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mild, brief Fry humor amid a nicely huge, or rather, broad, if brief, selection of music throughout western history.

No, there ain't no Greeks here. Let's start with the monks a-chanting, head on through the Medievals, the Madrigals, Renaissance, etc through Haydn, and what we've got is a very brief SURVEY.

But hell, that's fine. I enjoyed every second of it.

Um. Except the Madrigals. I hate chorals, too. I'm fine if we just stick with the boondocks of the Medieval period, or better yet, just give me ALL the "Sumer is icumen in" on repeat for approximately a full day of revelry right before some asshole lord comes in and kills my wife and takes my daughter. It is 1225 AD, after all.

That reminds me though:

It's 1364 AD

Imagine Guillaume de Marchaut’s Mass being played so somberly at Charles V’s coronation, only to have the tip-tops of the passage end with “ASSSSHOOOOOLLLEEEEE”

But everyone would be too embarrassed to stop the mass. The King would just be looking side-eyed at the composer, thinking how best to murder Machaut.

The music continues somberly, and then at the rise of the next chant, another “Assssholllleeeee” graces the pews.

No one dares to stop the music now. It’s holy, after all.

And then, another “Assssshoooollleeeeee.”

By now the king is going to murder the FUCK out of Machaut, but in the meantime, all the church, the nobles, EVERYONE, is snickering, having a horrible time trying not to burst out in laughter.

Near the end, Marchaut bows his head, saying, “Worth it.” to the person sitting next to him.

THIS is why classical music kicks ass. Even if it is apocryphal.

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