This posting is in Rich Text, because I want to retain the formatting
without having to simulate it in plain text. It was intentional.
Some months ago I pulled out Nyman's saxophone & cello concerto to see if
it was as awful as I remember. Haven't gotten around to it. I'll have to
give it another listen.
Oliver Knussen's children's operas also come to mind, but it's been 20
years since I've heard them, and would have to listen again. Irritating,
truly wretched music.
There will always be a cold spot in my heart for the genuinely appalling
"Amahl and the Night Visitors". (I'm old to remember seeing it on TV in its
original production.) It is of a shallow ickiness that goes beyond merely
It's too easy to damn difficult works (such as some by Boulez). I feel you
have to "understand" a work on //some// level before you can rip into it. I
therefore avoid condemning works merely because I can't follow them. Of
course, one might argue that that's a perfectly good reason for calling a
© 19961998 William Sommerwerck All rights reserved.
This is not an attack on religion. Rather, its an attack on peoples
materialistic and anthropomorphic views of God. It is also a kick in the
butt to a miserable, stupid, idiotic opera that badly needs a kick in the
butt. Plus a severe whipping. And worsemuch worse. (My favorite Stupid
Scene is the one where the neighbors serve a gigantic feast for the
magiwhile Amahl and his mother are starving to death. Not very neighborly,
Amahl steps forward, holding his crutch in front of him, as an offering.
Perhaps he is a cripple like me
The hovel suddenly grows dark, lit only with an eerie blue glow. A voice
thunders from everywhere, and nowhere.
How dare you suggest that My perfect Son is a cripple
Before Amahl can say I didnt say he was a cripple, only that he might be.
, Amahl emits a cry of abject terror. His body begins to burn in sulfurous
yellow flames. For a full three minutes, he writhes and screams in the agony
of infinite pain, and wails with the emptiness of the eternally damned. His
mother covers her ears and turns away, unable to watch or listen.
At the end, he is reduced to a burned and charred skeleton, with only a few
shreds of flesh still clinging to it. (No, he doesnt become Darth Vader.)
Amazingly, the skeleton tries to take a step forward. There is a blinding
bolt of blue-white lightning, and the blackened bones are reduced to
Rot in hell, blasphemer!
There is a moment of silence. Then, Amahls mother speaks.
Is this my childs reward for an unselfish act of kindness? Is there no
Whatever I AM does is just! Join your son, blasphemous bitch!
A gigantic rock, almost the size of the hovel, falls through the roof and
crushes Amahls mother to pita-like flatness.
The magi stand in shocked silence, not knowing what to do or say.
Well? Get your asses moving! (And no wisecracks about how youre riding
camels.) Youve got gifts to deliver to My Son. And dont think I dont know
about the licorice. Make sure Joseph gets all of it. I owe him something for
rendering him speechless.
that was John the Baptists father, Zechariah
Another lightning bolt blasts the magusand his licoriceinto oblivion.
Damn! Ive got to stop making mistakes like that
Well? I know youre just dying to say something about how God can do
anything. Well, dont say it, or you will be dying. Hell, Ive got better
things to do than materialize licorice.