In the October 12 New Yorker, Yoni Brenner offers spoofs on program notes for Debussy’s La Mer, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2. “Tchaikovsky wrote only one violin concerto, or, as he himself said, ‘one too many.’ Tchaikovsky had always had an uneasy relationship with the violin, which scholars attribute to a childhood nightmare in which he found himself violently and relentlessly rubbed against an enormous brick of rosin.… Even though Symphony No. 2 is believed to be Brahms’s first symphonic work, the composer demonstrates a sure hand from the outset, with a glowing thematic statement from the horns. The flutes answer with a supple ascending line, requesting that the horns be more specific. But the horns simply re-state the same phrase a half step up, which only serves to irritate the flutes, who promptly hand the melody to the violins, as if to say, ‘Here, you deal with them.’ ”

Posted October 7, 2009