19 March 2012

I think that I shall never see...

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) is reputed to have said that "Mediocre composers borrow, great composers steal." T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) either originated or borrowed or stole the line and reputedly changed it to say: "Mediocre writers borrow, great writers steal." Then that great pasticheur Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) claimed: "Good artists copy; great artists steal." Whoever: it's a great line. Probably a defining characteristic of Modernism.

Here is Ombra mai fu as originally set by Cavalli (1602-1676), borrowed by Bononcini (1670-1747), and ultimately stolen by Handel (1685-1759): a clearer example.




Tender and beautiful fronds
of my beloved plane tree,
let Fate smile upon you.
May thunder, lightning, and storms
never bother your dear peace,
nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.

A shade there never was,
of any plant,
dearer and more lovely,
or more sweet.

And here you thought musicians' sampling was a copyright issue.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Igor, you say?

Jim H. said...

@if: That's Eye-gore.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

What hump?

Jim H. said...

I can watch it over and over and still laugh. Teri Garr never looked so hot. Madeline Kahn was maybe the funniest woman since Lucille Ball. Ahh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you...

Randal Graves said...

Should ask you about the "IgorstraVINSKY" I swear up down sideways that I heard uttered once upon a time in a movie, no, not Fletch.

Purloinery is half of writing.