The première of Salome had taken place five months before, in Dresden, and word had got out that Strauss had created something beyond the pale—an ultra-dissonant Biblical spectacle, based on a play by a British degenerate whose name was not mentioned in polite company; a work so frightful in its depiction of adolescent lust that imperial censors had banned it from the Court Opera in Vienna.Um, wasn't Wilde Irish? I mean, doesn't being born in Dublin to parents from counties Wexford and Roscommon kinda make you, like, you know, Irish?
It's a fantastic book so far but with such a flagrant boner on the very first page, I find myself repeatedly wondering if the author really has any idea what he's talking about. I'm also finding myself disappointed at the lack of a technical one-up for n00bs like myself (can I has an explanation of the Phrygian mode plz?), but on the whole it seems like the book might just be book I've been waiting for to help me understand 20th century music a little better.
That and having been utterly blown away by the Robert Wilson-Herbert Grönemeyer production of Leonce and Lena last week may even mean that I'll get around to trying Wozzeck again soon: the last time I tried was back in the '80s; reading the critical edition of Büchner's text didn't help, and I didn't know what I was supposed to think about the music. There you go, instant New Year's resolution: time to close out the year by having sat through the opera, the Herzog movie, and by having read and understood the text for the first time.