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Subject: Re: oft-misquoted titles
From: Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 4 Jun 2017 09:20:36 -0400
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Jon Goldberg wrote:

"But what about those of us so ready to criticise - how about going
*beyond* the titles? It's wonderful if one knows that, for instance, it's
"Des Knaben Wunderhorn" - but really, what does it matter if one doesn't
know the text being sung (and its translation) in the actual piece? Most of
us know foreign opera/concert texts by the sound of syllables, not by a
real command of the language. So yeah, knowing the titles are great, but
what about the rest of it? ;-)"

Since "Des [not "Das"] Knaben Wunderhorn" was my submission to this thread,
let me add that 1) it hardly qualifies as "wonderful" to know that the
title (in English, "The Youth's Magic Horn") requires a possessive; and 2)
it seems to me that anyone who cares enough to get the title right is also
likely to "know the text being sung (and its translation)." Otherwise,
what's the point? As for Mr. Goldberg's assertion that "most of us" know
sung texts only "by the sound of syllables," I can only reply that Mr.
Goldberg's "us" doesn't apply to the majority of opera/concert goers I'm
acquainted with, almost all of whom have read---often studied
carefully---the librettos and texts of the works they're listening to. If
by "a real command of the language" Mr. Goldberg means genuine fluency in
speaking, reading, and writing in (say) Italian, French, and German---sure,
that's a high bar. But plenty of "us" on this list know enough of these
languages to feel at home with what Mr. Goldberg calls "the rest of it."
I'll bet Mr. Goldberg does, too.

On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 10:54 PM, Kenneth Bleeth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Jon Goldberg wrote:
>
> "But what about those of us so ready to criticise - how about going
> *beyond* the titles? It's wonderful if one knows that, for instance, it's
> "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" - but really, what does it matter if one doesn't
> know the text being sung (and its translation) in the actual piece? Most
> of us know foreign opera/concert texts by the sound of syllables, not by a
> real command of the language. So yeah, knowing the titles are great, but
> what about the rest of it? ;-)"
>
> Since "Des [not "Das"] Knaben Wunderhorn" was my submission to this
> thread, let me say that 1) it hardly qualifies as "wonderful" to know that
> the title (in English, "The Youth's Magic Horn") requires a possessive; and
> 2) it seems to me that anyone who cares enough to get the title right is
> also likely to "know the text being sung (and its translation)." Otherwise,
> what's the point? As for Mr. Goldberg's assertion that "most of us" know
> sung texts "by the sound of syllables," I can only reply that Mr.
> Goldberg's "us" doesn't apply to the majority of opera/concert goers I'm
> acquainted with, almost all of whom have read---often studied
> carefully---the librettos and texts of the works they're listening to. If
> by "a real command of the language" Mr. Goldberg means genuine fluency in
> speaking, reading, and writing in (say) Italian, French, and German---sure,
> that's a high bar. But plenty of "us" on this list know enough of these
> languages to feel at home with what Mr. Goldberg calls "the rest of it."
> I'll bet Mr. Goldberg does, too.
>
>
>
> On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 9:59 PM, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Mostly it's not. Mostly it's "Les Miz." KInda like the way we say "Cav
>> and Pag."
>>
>> Mispronunciations, just like grammatical errors (like the wrong article
>> in German), happen
>> because they're foreign languages, and most of us don't have that
>> specific a command of
>> the languages other than our own.
>>
>> But what about those of us so ready to criticise - how about going
>> *beyond* the titles?
>>
>> It's wonderful if one knows that, for instance, it's "Des Knaben
>> Wunderhorn" - but really,
>> what does it matter if one doesn't know the text being sung (and its
>> translation) in the
>> actual piece? Most of us know foreign opera/concert texts by the sound of
>> syllables, not by
>> a real command of the language. So yeah, knowing the titles are great,
>> but what about the
>> rest of it? ;-)
>>
>> That said - a few pet peeves of my own - what's the title of Bizet's most
>> famous opera?
>> Most of us wind up saying CARm'n - but that ain't right. (There should be
>> no stress on
>> either syllable, and there should be a vowel in the 2nd syllable, rather
>> than a schwa.)
>>
>> But then there's that popular choral piece that everyone calls carMIna
>> buRAna - but it's
>> not. The first word should be CARmina. But who says that?
>>
>> Belasco wrote a play called "The Girl of The Golden West." Puccini's
>> opera title took out the
>> "Golden." So why does it get put back in all the time? Perhaps "The Girl
>> Of The West"
>> doesn't have the same allure, but the common translation - the reverting
>> back to the
>> Belasco title - is nevertheless wrong.
>>
>> And going back to where this thread started - not only did Handel not
>> write "The Messiah,"
>> he also didn't write "The Halleluiah Chorus." (He just wrote a choral
>> movement called
>> "Halleluiah.") Much like Beethoven not writing anything he called the
>> "Emperor" concerto,
>> etc. But just like language in general, titles sometimes do get
>> reinvented over time, or
>> mistakes become standard - and things just stick.
>>
>> I say covfefe to it all. ;-)
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sat, 3 Jun 2017 18:15:34 -0400, Gabriel Stelian <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> >How about mispronunciations? Among my pet peeves, in DasRheingold alone
>> announcers
>> call Mime MimAH, Loge LogAH - and if René
>> >Pape would sing Wotan, he would be PapAH. Why can people be miserable,
>> but when
>> they go to the musical it is Les MiserAB?
>> >
>> >Gabe Stelian
>>
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