Wednesday, October 03, 2012


My Kindle copy of The Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon has arrived.  It says, "Italians cared little for the Baroque [heroine is a baroque specialist].  No, only Verdi, Rossini, and--God help us all, she thought, as a small shudder walked a descending cadence down her spine--Puccini."  I can't cite a page number.  Kindle doesn't have them.  The screen says 3%.

How can one resist someone who shudders over Puccini?  I am only inclined to shudder over Parsifal, but still. 

I have been trying to explain it.  I was raised on wonderful Baptist hymns like "Rock of Ages," and when professional concerns led me to participate in the music of other religions, I was forced to become aware of the tradition of adding an "amen" to the end of hymns.  Usually this was a simple plagal cadence, but sometimes it was that most corny and cloying of musical phrases--the Dresden Amen.  Just thinking about it now makes me shudder.

So you see, I was quite horrified to find that there existed an opera where this monstrosity repeated endlessly throughout.  Jonas is singing in an upcoming Met simulcast of Parsifal, and I am determined to make it all the way to the end.  Still.  Maybe there will be scenes without it.  I can only hope.  And yes, the Dresden Amen antedates Parsifal.

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