the orchestra world

back to school quiz

Soho the Dog has posted his back to school classical music quiz, which I’ll reproduce here (and give my own answers).  Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb answer, just a dumb person!

1. What’s the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in the last movement of Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata

2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.
Yo-yo Ma’s Soul of the Tango

3. Great piece with a terrible title.
John Adams’ The Wound Dresser

4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?
Britten all the way, baby.

5. Who’s your favorite spouse of a composer/performer? (Besides your own.)
Richard Strauss’ wife Anna de Ahna, she must have been a piece of work!

6. Terrible piece with a great title.
Beethoven’s Creatures of Prometheus, I still can’t get over my disappointment upon first hearing this work after being excited by the title.

7. What’s the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?
The Dies Irae of Mozart’s Requiem in Amadeus.

8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.
Anything by that artistic abortion Il Divo – ooh, I think I threw up a little in my mouth…

9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
If the stars align just right, who needs to choose – shuffle ’em both in the iPod!

10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.
Mikhail Baryshnikov – imagine if he did the same for virtuosity and extension of the vocabulary of dance in music!


For opera nerds: If you had to choose:
a) Lawrence Tibbett or Robert Merrill?
b) Amelita Galli-Curci or Lily Pons?

I pass on this one.

For early-music nerds: Name a completely and hopelessly historically uninformed recording that you nevertheless love.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s recording of the Bach/Stokowski Air on the G-string.