This is humiliating, but it should be so much fun to laugh at/commiserate with me (depending) that I’m telling you anyway.
So last night I was driving home to the Y and I had WBJC on, like usual. I came in halfway through a piece and, having listened for a bit, decided it was so Debussy-ish it simply had to be Debussy. In fact, I was even willing to suggest it might be from Images pour orchestra. As the piece wasn’t over by the time I got home and the suspense was killing me, I looked it up on the web site.
It was de Falla’s The Three Cornered Hat.
Of course it was. There were frickin’ castinets in the percussion (although in my defense, I’m pretty sure there are castinets in one of the movements from Images).
Similar story: I’m driving to my friend Bekah’s house, come in halfway through a piece, decide it’s Stravinsky — no, Rimsky-Korsakov — no, Mahler! And then it turned out to be Shostakovich’s fifth symphony, the last movement of which I have on my iPod and which has an EXTREMELY recognizable opening percussion bit and I KNOW THIS.
One day I was even convinced that a Mozart piece was Beethoven, and that was especially painful seeing as how Beethoven is my lover and Mozart my arch enemy (my parents very sensitively chose to tease me mercilessly about this).
My question is: am I the only one? Do you, too, flail wildly from composer to composer when attempting to identify a work? Do you hear Stravinsky at least once in every single remotely innovative piece? Do you momentarily panic before finally deciding if it’s Gershwin or Bernstein? Is that just me? Or are you one of those obnoxious people like my mother who just knows every single time?
This morning on the way to the train station it was (today’s birthday boy) Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. You can’t be wrong about that, and I pronounced it confidently. Turns out it was A Salute to John Philip Sousa arranged by some other guy. I really can’t win.