Answering the Dog
1. What's the best quotation of a piece of music within another piece of music?
I've always liked the allusion to Beethoven in Brahms' First, or Mozart's quote of himself in Don Giovanni, but I have to go with the Star-Spangled Banner in Madame Butterfly.
2. Name the best classical crossover album ever made.
Elvis Costello and Anne-Sophie Mutter, or Renee Fleming's Haunted Heart. I am not totally partial to either, but these are, for me, the "best."
3. Great piece with a terrible title.
Rage over a Lost Penny (A joke, please)
4. If you had to choose: Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett?
Benjamin Britten, though I'd not want to part with The Rose Lake, the Double Concerto for String Orchestra, or The Knot Garden.
5. Who's your favorite spouse of a composer/performer? (Besides your own.)
Phillip Glass' (now, I hear) ex, Holly. Met her once, thought she was absolutely lovely. But Peter Pears rates.
6. Terrible piece with a great title.
7. What's the best use of a classical warhorse in a Hollywood movie?
That famous aria from Carmen in Magnolia, or Michael Moore's use of Beethoven's Ninth in Farenheight 911. I suppose Fantasia doesn't count.
8. Name the worst classical crossover album ever made.
John Denver and Placido Domingo, which I purchased in a gas station between Malibu and Santa Barbara.
9. If you had to choose: Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
10. Name a creative type in a non-musical medium who would have been a great composer.
Either Orson Welles or Paul Thomas Anderson. Or Tennessee Williams. Or Balanchine. Or Bergman. Does Adorno or Romain Rolland count? Also, Kierkegaard. But most of all, Marcel Proust.
For opera nerds: If you had to choose:
a) Lawrence Tibbett or Robert Merrill?
b) Amelita Galli-Curci or Lily Pons?
For early-music nerds: Name a completely and hopelessly historically uninformed recording that you nevertheless love.
Beechum's Messiah, though Furtwangler's Ninth is so wrong yet hopelessly right. And Simone Dinnerstein's Goldberg Variations, not to mention the really obvious Glenn Gould reading(s) of the same piece. I mean that these recordings don't lay claim to a certain level of scholarship--no doubt they all knew what history meant, and chose to follow a different set of instincts.