From Bach To Verse, Comic Mnemonics For Famous Musical Themes, Josefa Heifetz, Penguin

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FROM BACH TO VERSE: Comic Mnemonics For Famous Musical Themes: Published by PENGUIN BOOKS in 1986 & written by JOSEFA HEIFETZ. The inspiration for this collection came in the form of a dreadful performance of SCHUBERT’s Seventh which I heard on my car radio while dodging pothole on a county-maintained road. It was the funereal pace of the scherzo that did it. I was weaned on TOSCANINI’s idea of vivace, which, as I recall, approached the speed of light. (The he managed to articulate each note was another measure of his genius.) Having once tasted the joys of such exhilarating tempi, it is quite impossible to be satisfied with anything meno mosso. So, in my frustration, I started to improvise lyrics and sing along: “If it’s possible to sing it/ While mouthing lyrics like these,/ Then the tempo’s not vivace/ (And SCHUBERT wasn’t Viennese.)” Although the primary intent is to entertain, these verses might serve as mnemonics for those who suffer with embarrassment while trying to match author to opus. I know I’ll again forget FRANCK’s D Minor, or other lesser beauties by GOUNOD, IPPOLITOFF-IVANOFF, KREISLER, OFFENBACH, and WEBER. According to certain memory experts, the more ridiculous the mnemonic, the better is serves. On the other hand, logic and reason have their groupies as well. Both camps are represented here. Consistency is deliberately lacking except for one thing: each syllable is sung to a single note, so there should be no confusion about prosody. In most cases the stress points are obvious, both musically and lyrically. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of a single exception, but I’m sure somebody will. Somebody usually does. And it’s usually a relative.
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