Monday, March 09, 2009

Beethoven's Erotica Symphony (#3):

I have spent many happy hours listening to classical music on Princeton's radio station, WPRB (103.3 FM and WPRB.COM). In ancient medieval times (before microchips and CDs and even tapes), I believe that it normally took two people to operate the station: an announcer and an engineer. During winter vacation, the announcers would go away, and some engineers would keep the station going. They were notably less knowledgeable about the music than the usual announcers.

One of the engineers put on a recording of Beethoven's third symphony, the Eroica. Before he played it, he read the entire back of the record album, which had an analysis of the symphony. Only he didn't call it the Eroica.

The engineer consistently said “Erotica” every time he read “Eroica”. (The first movement of this symphony IS in fact a work of erotica, but that's important now.) Eventually the engineer finished telling us all about Beethoven's Erotica symphony, and started up the music. I called the station.

ME: Are you sure that that symphony is called the Erotica symphony?

HE: That's what it says here.

ME: Take another look at the words.

HE: (after a pause): Oh, S**t!
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