Sunday, September 21, 2008

The "No-Longer-Tenable" Donald Rosenberg

It has been announced that Donald Rosenberg, writer for Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, will no longer be permitted to review concerts of the Cleveland Orchestra. Rosenberg will continue his other work for the newspaper, writing about other music and dance events in the Cleveland area, but he will no longer cover the Cleveland Orchestra beat.

This move is six years overdue, as Rosenberg had long ago lost all objectivity in his coverage of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Music Director, Franz Welser-Most, whom for some reason Rosenberg has always detested on a deeply personal level.

Rosenberg’s personal grudge against Welser-Most has been one of the two or three major stories in the American music world for the last half-decade, constantly talked about everywhere, even (and especially) in Europe, although no American publication has been willing to write about this matter on a single occasion.

I have read Rosenberg every week for years, with amazement, as he hacks away at the world’s finest orchestra and the finest conductor now working regularly in the U.S.

I am pleased that the Plain Dealer has at last addressed this situation, even if belatedly.

Last week, I read the reviews in the European press of the Cleveland Orchestra’s appearances at this year’s Salzburg Festival. Once again, I could not help but notice that only European critics seem to appreciate this miraculous ensemble.

When the most knowledgeable (and jaded) European music critics proclaim the Cleveland Orchestra vastly superior to the most exalted European ensembles, one cannot help but compare the depth and breadth of their knowledge with the idiocy that passes for music criticism in American newspapers and magazines.

My father, one of the world’s most brilliant men, and who is never wrong about anything, remarked to me three days ago that something significant had happened in recent days. He told me, on Wednesday night, that the most recent round of European reviews for the Cleveland Orchestra made Rosenberg’s position at the Plain Dealer “no longer tenable”. My father said that Rosenberg would be gone “by Christmas”.

Christmas has come early this year.


  1. The great reviews of the Cleveland Orchestra's most recent European tour have been an abberation and not a trend. From the previous European tour, there were a few very good ones and some very bad ones as well, and they were followed by some pretty mediocre reviews in New York. Don Rosenberg is not amoung the most profound music critics in the country, but he is as good as most. I do not always agree with with him nor have I found his writing to be that impressive (this is the Clevleand Plain Dealer after all). However, I was at the Severance Hall opening concert last September and would have to concur with Rosenbert that, after Welser-Most conducted Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, there was not a wet eye in the house. He was called back for one, possibly two, curtain calls. The Thursday night audience at Severance Hall is a tough one, but not that tough on opening night.

    What many people tend to forget is that his reviews of Welser-Most are not that different with most of the other critics throughout the country and the world. They are all there now on the internet for the public to read and to draw their own conclusions. The fact that the Plain Dealer would replace Rosenberg with a relatively inexperienced, unknown person to be the primary music critic of one of the world's top orchestras is another indication of the diminishing quality of journalism in this country and the lack of seriousness in the fine arts.

  2. A link to a recent review of Welser-Most's DVD of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony is provided below. Again, very typical of his work in my opinion despite a few big successes here and there. Also, I think we can conclude that Don Rosenberg had nothing to do with this.

  3. I hate to disagree with Drew and I especially hate to disagree with him 100 percent, but he's wrong wrong wrong here.

    Welser-Möst may be a fine opera conductor (as he's conducted only one opera in the U.S. -- and in concert version -- it's hard to know for sure) but how on earth he can be regarded as even an adequate symphony orchestra conductor let alone with the superlatives Drew proposes here is beyond my comprehension.

    Of course Cleveland is a great orchestra, and no one knows that better than Don Rosenberg who was commissioned by the orchestra to wrote its official history "The Cleveland Orchestra Story: 'Second to None'" (2000). And Don was the first one to praise Welser-Möst's concert "Rusalka" this spring, something that a hatchet man or an irrational hater would not have done.

    In fact, Don has never attacked FW-M and never made his articles and reviews personal -- he has rather responded day after day to each boring and uninspired concert after boring and uninspired concert with clear and objective responses. And he's done this, in part, because of his great love and deep respect for the Cleveland Orchestra which he has covered for some 30 years for two newspapers.

    If you click my link above you can read what Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun and I (of the Chicago Sun-Times and WFMT Radio Chicago and have written about this scandal. Pulitzer Prize-winning former critic Tim Page is another who has weighed in publicly in support of Don.

    Thanks for your time.

  4. Apologies -- Tho navigable from the link above, here's the direct link to my page just in case:

    Drew, Thanks again for letting me weigh in here!

    Andrew P.

  5. Andrew:

    Why haven’t you written about the Boston Symphony yet? I have been waiting for you to write about the Boston Symphony, and you have been silent. Is James Levine keeping you away?

    I was hoping you would write about your England trip. Only Joshua wrote about your England trip. You were silent. I was hoping you would write more about some of the less-known things you visited, like Goodwood House, Cirencester, Arundel and Launceston. Are you and Joshua going to write more about your trip?

    Rosenberg’s blind hatred toward our local conductor has its genesis in the period after Franz’s appointment was announced but before Franz assumed the podium. Rosenberg went all over town telling everyone that Franz was a bad choice and wouldn’t last and that he personally would see to that. Cleveland is a small town. Such talk gets around.

    Rosenberg had used up all his credibility here around 2004-2005 or so. He’s been a local joke for the last 3 or 4 years. Everyone looks at the paper every week to see what the hatchet man has to say about Franz this week.

    The odd thing about Rosenberg’s work is that he was here during the second half of Dohnanyi’s time in Cleveland and never seemed to have a problem with Dohnanyi’s bland performances. Franz is much more interesting than Dohnanyi. And yet Rosenberg goes after him week after week, accusing him of lacking character and personality. Did Dohnanyi even have a personality?

    Your father was right. Rosenberg’s anti-Franz crusade was “no longer tenable”.


  6. Andrew:

    It is amusing to watch the American music critics get their knickers in a twist over Donald Rosenberg. Rosenberg was not even fired from the Plain Dealer. He was reassigned to other coverage.

    Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun is the one fanning the flames of Rosenberg’s reassignment. He is carrying on like Rosenberg has been sent to his death.

    From Tim Smith, this is rich. Tim Smith is the critic who dismisses Welser-Most while praising Marin Alsop, writing about “layers of nuance and sensitivity to the momentum and structural clarity that are her trademarks” and “classy, involving, arresting music-making”. Tim Smith missed his calling in not writing for the National Lampoon.

    Tim Smith, head chief of offering inaccurate coverage of his own local orchestra, is now leading the charge in defense of a fellow critic who offers inaccurate coverage of a distant orchestra. There can no longer be any irony in the world.

    With boobs like Tim Smith around, newspapers were correct in no longer seeing the need to run comics pages.

    Andrew, our son, the Japanese scholar, is now working in Tokyo. Susan and I will be traveling to Japan in November to visit him for two weeks. We will be in Japan from November 11 through November 27. It will be our first trip to Japan in many years.

    Susan and I hope you boys are beginning to enjoy Boston, at least a little. Law school will be over for Joshua before you even know it. Make sure you explore fully the Museum Of Fine Arts before you leave town.

    Both of us wish you nothing but the best.

    Ron Brown

  7. Mark:

    When a music critic routinely offers praise to one such as Jahja Ling while routinely offering brickbats to one such as Franz Welser-Most, something is clearly amiss. It is akin to extolling Barbara Cartland while at the same time damning Evelyn Waugh. In both cases, all standards have been thrown out the window and some serious questions are in order.

    The European reviews of the Cleveland Orchestra’s 2007 European tour were mostly laudatory, which was also true for Cleveland’s 2006 European tour. Donald Rosenberg, however, became fixated upon American Larry Lash’s negative 2007 review from Vienna and used that as the foundation for his 2007 article claiming—inaccurately—that the Cleveland Orchestra’s 2007 reception in Europe had not been especially positive.

    Most of the lukewarm European reviews for Welser-Most and Cleveland have always emanated from London, and no doubt you know the full history behind that situation. In the last few years, however, many London critics have revised their opinions about Welser-Most, even if grudgingly so.

    Aside from Martin Bernheimer, who has seen and heard everything (and who seems to be bored by practically everything these days), none of the New York-based critics is a reliable judge of orchestras or conductors. They give Welser-Most persnickety notices while lavishing praise either upon American conductors with a fraction of Welser-Most’s talent and musicianship or upon a handful of current favorites such as Salonen. This has become the “meme” of the last decade, to use a fashionable word I abhor (and a word I have never once used before and hope never to use again—but a word that seems particularly apt under the circumstances).


  8. Andrew Patner:

    With all due respect, your comments about Donald Rosenberg and Franz Welser-Most appear to have been borrowed from old reviews by Claudia Cassidy.

    “Courageous critic cut off at the knees by cowardly Cleveland newspaper” . . .“silenced one of the country’s most respected, fair-minded and independent critics” . . .“regular—and wholly accurate—criticism of the Cleveland Orchestra's sub-par music director Franz Welser-Most” . . .“Don was and is a model of what a critical voice should be, calling things as he sees and hears them and demanding that the standards of one of the world's great orchestras be maintained” . . .“it may very well be that Welser-Most is a fine opera conductor, but he would not be the first or the only of that breed who really has no business leading a symphony orchestra when he does not have 150 singers standing on his head” . . .“after six years at the helm, Cleveland has renewed the Lightweight from Linz through 2018 (!).” . . .“but that their management and trustees should have been able to prevail on an independent and once highly-regarded newspaper to tell its chief critic what he can and cannot review is a journalistic scandal of the first—and worst—order.”

    That is an astonishing series of ill-considered and injudicious—if not inflammatory—statements.

    Goodness gracious! Shouldn’t that kind of stuff be saved for the crime beat, surely? Or perhaps for coverage of the corrupt Daley machine?

    Unless you have personally interviewed the publisher and editor of Cleveland’s Plain Dealer as well as the administration and Board membership of the Cleveland Orchestra, you cannot possibly know whether many of your statements above have any basis whatsoever in fact.


  9. Robert:

    Joshua and I have not been to a concert of the Boston Symphony since we arrived in Boston.

    However, we have purchased tickets for a Boston Symphony concert next month, but only because Maurizio Pollini will be the guest soloist and only because my parents will be in town. I want Josh to hear Pollini, and my parents want to visit Symphony Hall. I have a bad personal history with Pollini—he has cancelled on me three times, including once at the very last minute—and he is not even scheduled to play a work I particularly want to hear, the Schumann concerto.

    I wrote about our trip to Southern England before we departed, and Josh wrote about our trip after we returned. I’m not sure we have much else to say, except for this: the visit to Goodwood House was severely disappointing because, even though we took the only “long” tour of the day, they rushed us through the place like the house was on fire, affording us only the briefest glances at Van Dyck’s of the highest quality and French furniture to die for.

    Yes, the Plain Dealer did wait a little too long to take action regarding Rosenberg, but at least it has finally done so. Better late than never, as the saying goes.


  10. Mr. Brown:

    I hope you and Mrs. Brown have a wonderful trip, and a wonderful visit with your son. I have never been to Japan, although my parents have. I hope to visit Japan one day.

    Joshua and I have not yet visited the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts, or any other museums in Boston for that matter. We shall visit the Museum Of Fine Arts next month, when my parents will be in town, because there are two temporary exhibitions my mother will enjoy viewing.

    I used to read Tim Smith on occasion while I was in law school, but I stopped reading him once I left Washington. In my experience, he never had anything worthwhile or interesting to say. Further, it was patently clear that Smith was not particularly intelligent.

    I am sort of surprised Smith has such a bee in his bonnet over Donald Rosenberg. Perhaps Smith believes that he may be the next critic on the list to lose his job or be reassigned?

    I wish you and Mrs. Brown a safe and splendid trip!


  11. Mr. Patner:

    Franz Welser-Most has conducted more than one opera in the U.S.

    I know of at least three operas he has conducted in Cleveland. He has conducted Der Rosencavalier, Don Carlos and Rusalka.

    He may have conducted more, but those three I remember.


  12. Something tells me he has conducted Elektra, too, hasn't he?

  13. Dear Andrew,

    You made the most ad hominem comments about Don Rosenberg, whom I know well (as I did Claudia Cassidy), and his motivations, without providing a shred of evidence to support them, so I am not sure what it is you are objecting to about my statements.

    Thank you, though, for quoting me accurately! I of course stand by everything I have said, broadcast, and published about both Don and Franz Welser-Möst over the years -- including that FW-M and Cleveland's outstanding "Rusalka" was one of the highlights of this year's Salzburg Festival where I was privileged to attend all of the operas.

    I'll leave it here as this is your webpage, not mine!

    All best wishes,

    Andrew Patner -- Chicago

  14. Dan TD:

    My apologies -- The phrase should have read "as he's conducted only one opera in the U.S. *each season* -- and in concert version -- it's hard to know for sure.

    I believe thus far he has also done -- in whole or in part -- "Der Rosenkavalier," "Don Carlo," "Elektra," "Falstaff," and "Hänsel und Gretel." "Rusalka" was the first to receive strong national attention due, first to Don Rosenberg's widely-circulated rave review, and then, of course, to its being the first of them to be mounted as a fully-staged production, this August in Salzburg.

    On the strength of the "Rusalka," I certainly look forward to the fully-staged "Marriage of Figaro" at Severance Hall in March 2009, using the Zurich Opera production. "Così fan tutte" and "Don Giovanni" are slated to follow in 2010 and 2011.

    We'll see -- and hope for the best!

  15. Andrew Patner:

    I do not moderate comments, so you should feel free to enter whatever comments you wish.

    In two years, I have only deleted one comment (other than advertisements), and I deleted that particular comment, many, many months ago, because it was filled with vile language, the sort of thing not appropriate on my blog. If people want to cuss, they may go elsewhere.

    (Joshua has a different rule. He deletes, always and automatically, idiotic comments.)

    I am an attorney, well-versed in the ad hominem rule, both within and without the legal setting. It is you, and not I, who does not understand the ad hominem rule.

    The ad hominem rule does not apply in an instance in which the credibility or bias of a person, his or her statements, or his or her deeds, is the very issue at stake in a discussion. In that event, the ad hominem rule only applies insofar as something clearly inapposite or clearly immaterial is raised. For instance, if I had written that Donald Rosenberg’s favorite cousin is a drunk or if I had written that Donald Rosenberg is a lousy driver, then THOSE statements would have been ad hominem attacks. Nothing I have written, however, violates or even invokes the ad hominem rule.

    What are your facts to establish a nexus between the Plain Dealer’s reassignment of Donald Rosenberg and pressure from officials or personnel or supporters of the Cleveland Orchestra? Without such facts, all of what you have written on your blog is sheerest rodomontade—as I very gently tried to point out to you earlier—and unworthy of a serious journalist.


  16. I now take up the cudgels in defense of Andrew.

    Andrew’s assessment of the situation is correct – absolutely. Several seasons before Franz won the appointment as Dohnanyi’s successor Franz conducted a concert showcasing Franz Schmidt’s Fourth Symphony. Mr. Rosenberg had often given glowing reviews of Franz concerts in the Plain Dealer before that one; but after his review of the Schmidt Mr. Rosenberg wrote “Welser-Moest is GOOD for Cleveland” (my non-italics).

    I have yet to see one person admit the truth that the Cleveland Orchestra’s consideration of Franz as Music Director BEFORE 2000 was loudly applauded by Mr. Rosenberg if not outright “lobbied” for by the critic. This truth begs the question: How and why did Franz suddenly become consistently “inept” as a conductor after 2000, at least in the ears of Mr. Rosenberg and his many cronies?

    But there is another, more important, truth that seems to evade discussion so far: American critics and most American patrons do not listen to European music the way European critics and patrons listen to the same music. I lived in Europe for 18 years, and most of my friends continue to live there, as this is where they were born. Why is it that all of these friends hold ALL American critics in such utter contempt? In 2007 Rosenberg practically admitted to this aesthetic gulf while misrepresenting the Orchestra’s reception in Vienna.

    Americans, I believe, listen to music the way that Gregor Samsa listened to his sister’s (poor) violin playing in Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” – AFTER he was transformed into a dung beetle. Mr. Kafka was NOT a music lover, you see; and this allowed for a more objective view. The fact is, Americans want to be “moved,” by music in the same superficial way that a moth is attracted to a bulb or the way Samsa, as an insect, was moved by his sister’s “sounding”.

    If one is left “dry-eyed” after a performance of the Tchaik 6, and the same person interprets such a reaction as proving the incompetence of Franz, perhaps he should consider the possibility that the conductor has presented a "non-interpreted" view of the music that is simply “over his antennae.”


  17. Dane:

    I find the brouhaha over Donald Rosenberg, all over the web, interesting for three reasons.

    First, no one wants to discuss what Rosenberg actually wrote. Do words no longer matter? Any reasonably-intelligent person who has actually read one-out-of-six articles Rosenberg has written about Franz Welser-Most would instantly pick up on the fact that Rosenberg has a visceral hatred of the conductor. Nonetheless, this particular consideration—a rather important one, I would think—is totally ignored.

    Second, no one wants to discuss the complete absence of evidence establishing that the Cleveland Orchestra was somehow behind Rosenberg’s reassignment. This cause-and-effect connection is simply assumed, without foundation. This does not speak well for persons who assert such a nexus unless they come forward with evidence to support their claims.

    Third, Rosenberg’s gathering of support from his fellow critics, surely a case of “rounding up the usual suspects”, is damaging Rosenberg’s own credibility. What Tim Smith and Andrew Patner, among others, have written on their websites is utter bluster, nothing more than emotional gibberish. Such unreasoned blubbering does not help Rosenberg’s cause. This type of nonsense not only undercuts Rosenberg, it undercuts his adherents as well.

    And why did not this damn fool simply keep his mouth shut? Enlisting his friends to mount a public campaign on his behalf, full of inflammatory statements, will not succeed in returning Rosenberg to his old assignment. Rosenberg is soiled goods now more than ever. Should he not have known this?

    Dane, I did not realize that people were supposed to cry at concerts. In a lifetime of concert-going, I have never seen anyone actually cry at a concert. If I saw people crying at the conclusion of Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony, I would quite naturally think there was something seriously wrong with them.

    Next month, Joshua and I will hear James Levine conduct the “Pathetique” here in Boston. Oddly, the “Pathetique” will be the first work on the program. After intermission, the Schumann Piano Concerto will be performed. Has this been arranged so that concert patrons may do their weeping at intermission?


  18. Dear Andrew,

    You've really gone to far here, I'm sorry.

    Where on earth do you get the idea that Don Rosenberg had *any* contact with me, with Tim Smith, with Clarke Bustard, or with Pulitzer Prize-winner Tim Page that has led to our public statements on this matter?

    For the record: I had *no* contact *of any kind* with Don Rosenberg regarding this matter before I wrote and published my comments. None. Don simply happens to be respected by his colleagues, including Zach Lewis, his replacement, as of now, at the Plain Dealer, something he has earned through a 30-year career.

    What you have posted at Grumpy Abe

    goes even further in making false charges about Don Rosenberg's behavior and in impugning the integrity of critics that you neither know nor know anything about.

    Try to read your own posts with the same level of scrutiny you claim to apply to others.

    And try to recognize that just because something is not legally actionable does not mean that it is appropriate or right. "Ad hominem," e.g., was a rhetorical term long before it was a legal rule and it remains so -- "'Latin.' To the man: appealing to personal interests, prejudices, or emotions rather than to reason: 'an argument ad hominem.'"

    I'm glad that you are an attorney, but what on earth does that have to do with your ability to be judge and jury in your own case or to be a mind reader? In my three years at The University of Chicago Law School we apparently received a different sort of training.

    I responded to your initial post with hesitancy, as I wrote, because I had found your insights and passions as an intelligent listener of interest in the past. Your comments since then have certainly given me second thoughts about stepping into your sandbox. I'm sorry.


  19. Andrew Patner:

    My father received his Juris Doctor from the University Of Chicago Law School.

    If you dislike my “sandbox” so much, why do you keep coming back?

    Really, I haven’t a clue what you are talking about. Your thoughts are disorganized, you do not express them well, and Donald Rosenberg has become far too emotional an issue for you.

    If you can identify which of my statements include “false charges” or which of my statements have “gone to [sic] far”, I shall be happy to defend them, at whatever length and in whatever detail you desire.

    Permit me to point out that is you, and not I, who has written about your association with Donald Rosenberg. Permit me to point out that it is Tim Smith, and not I, who has written about his association with Donald Rosenberg. I have never mentioned Tim Page and Clarke Bustard, both of whose writings I generally rather like. However, I will now go on record to express my disappointment that Tim Page is no longer writing for the Washington Post—or now writing for the Chicago Sun-Times.

    With reference to “Grumpy Abe”, whoever he is, he rather cheekily asked for a legal defense of the Plain Dealer’s actions, and I provided him with one. I never presumed, in answering his query, to address any moral questions, and you very well know that. For the record, however, I am happy to state that any employer is free to reassign any employee at any time for any reason so long as it is not for a reason prohibited by law. Wanting a fresh voice to cover the Cleveland Orchestra is not a reason prohibited by law.

    I’d stay away from the “ad hominem” issue, if I were you, because you still have trouble fully grasping the application and technicalities of that rule, as I noted earlier.

    Now, as I invited earlier, I believe it is incumbent upon you to offer a nexus between the Plain Dealer’s reassignment of Donald Rosenberg and any actions of persons associated with the Cleveland Orchestra or actions of persons acting on behalf of the Cleveland Orchestra.

    Without such, you are blowing hot air, and I am dismayed that you do not realize this.


  20. Drew, you are so funny. I know nothing about music, and yet even I'm enjoying this. You keep sweetly demolishing these people, and yet they keep coming back for more.

    Is Tim Page the same Tim Page who sent an email to Marion Barry? If so, I don't think he's at the Post any more.

    I don't believe for a minute this Andrew Patner guy went to law school. He doesn't think or write like anyone who has been through law school.

    Barbara and I went to Pittsburgh on Saturday to see Pitt (her alma mater) play Iowa. It was a great game, best game I've seen in some time. 21-20 Pitt. We stayed in Pittsburgh for dinner and didn't get back to Washington until almost midnight.

    Why are your parents traveling to Boston next month? To see you and Joshie?

  21. Thanks, Drew.

    I'll let you get back to having this as a forum for you and your friends which is its purpose in the first place.

    Sorry to have intruded.

    Andrew Patner
    Chicago Sun-Times
    WFMT Radio Chicago and

  22. Andrew Patner:

    Before you go, I ask you, for the third time, to offer a nexus between the Plain Dealer’s reassignment of Donald Rosenberg and any actions of the Cleveland Orchestra.

    I'm waiting . . .


  23. Drew,

    I would have preferred to reply privately to you via e-mail but I do not have such a contact for you.

    I find it every odd that you can throw out accusations and make unsupported statements willy-nilly, insult me, and belittle my colleagues, but I am somehow obliged to answer a question from you because you have asked it three times.

    I have several sources for my statements. Unlike you, my profession requires me to have documentation for my claims. I have a solid reputation in my field after 30 years and my editors and station managers have access to any documentation that they need.

    It is documented that CO leadership has met with PD leadership on this matter. There is also a recent written statement regarding this by a knowledgeable authority with a very balanced and nuanced view of this situation -- well between mine and yours -- that I will post on my own site as soon as I have the person's permission to do so.

    Enjoy the rest of your high dudgeon. Pleasure doing business with you.

    Andrew Patner

    P.S, I am happy to communicate with you, but not in this forum for your friends and relatives who also seem to enjoy questioning and insulting people whom they do not know. You can reach me via my site and/or via e-mail. Thank you.

  24. Paul:

    We are all getting together in New York over Columbus Day weekend.

    The following week is Josh's break. He and I will return to Boston after that weekend because I have to go back to work, and Alex will return to Minneapolis because he has to go back to work, but my parents will remain in New York for most of that week, helping Alec and Lizbeth pack their things for the move back home.

    Toward the end of that week, my parents will come up to Boston for a couple of days to see Josh and me before they fly back to Minneapolis.

    The Tim Page in question is one and the same as the Marion Barry Tim Page.

    It's pretty obvious Andrew Patner never attended law school.

    I saw that Pitt/Iowa score. I was disappointed. I thought Iowa would win that game, myself. Iowa has two good quarterbacks this year, and Ferentz switches back and forth between the two as circumstances warrant. From what I read, Iowa should have won that game.


  25. Andrew Patner:

    Thank you.


  26. That you and yr friend or relative Paul can make inaccurate factual statements about the schooling of other people (Remember, you can argue until you are blue in the face about opinions, but you cannot argue about facts) is both astonishing and par for the course.

    This is a surreal environment -- You all have my actual and full name, places of employment, at least one university attended, and my direct contact information, yet under the veil of anonymity toss all kinds of things around about me.

    I hope, sirs, that in your own practices you have found a Dr. Jekyll persona as the Mr. Hyde side could get you in trouble with your firm, your clients, and your state bar.


  27. Andrew:

    You are welcome.

    Andrew Patner

  28. Andrew Patner:

    Thank you again.


  29. Andrew, I didn't even know I was in on this argument!

    And are you and I related?

  30. Andrew Patner:

    " . . .yet under the veil of anonymity [you] toss all kinds of things around about me."

    What in the world are you talking about?

    You come onto my blog, post all sorts of foolish statements, I respond to them, and therefore I am "tossing all kinds of things around about you"?

    You need to get a grip on yourself.


  31. Paul:

    He writes about music for one of the Chicago papers.

    No, I did not know you were in on this argument, either.

    Well, you and I are not related as far as I know . . .


  32. Andrew:

    Wow! This is better than the movies.

    Andrew, you are your father’s son. You are your mother’s son, too.

    You handled this nut with polish and restraint.

    Susan and I read through this thread three times, and you know what this was all about, don’t you?

    This had nothing to do with a music critic in Ohio, I hope you realize. This was all about rage. Patner is twice your age. He could not match you. Patner could not match your arguments. He could not match your writing. He could not match your style. This made him infuriated to the point he revealed himself as public fool.

    Andrew, your writing has such precision and grace. It has rhythm, personality, point, wit and elegance. Patner works for a newspaper. He would give his eyeteeth to have your writing gift. Look at how bad his writing is. Response after response, you exposed him as a bad writer. It was like you were showing him how it should be done.

    3/4 of your wit went over Patner’s head. But he knew he was being had. Susan and I had to read you three times over to know we were getting all the jokes. In every line you made fun of him. But with subtlety and wit way beyond his ability to match. He knew this. He didn’t pick up on half your jokes but he knew this. He had no weapons to fight back.

    The reason Patner was not answering your arguments was because he lost his head. He lacks your intelligence. He lacks your skill in argument. He lacks your powers of analysis. He lacks your grace. He had to resort to name calling. He knew he was not at your level. But he had nothing else to throw. And he was too stupid to go away. Not even when you kept giving him an out. He was too stupid to pick up on the lifeline you were throwing him.

    I’m not a lawyer, Andrew, but Susan is. She says there’s no way Patner went to law school. They would have put him in a remedial writing course first thing. And she says it’s clear he’s had no training in writing. She says it’s just as clear he’s had no training in legal reasoning, either.

    Andrew, if I were you, I would start deleting comments from nuts like Patner. You knew he was a nut from his first comment. I know you knew he was a nut because of your first response to him. You told him upfront he was borrowing from Claudia Cassidy. And then you quoted him back all the stupid things he wrote. So you knew you were dealing with a nut from the start. You should have cut him off first thing and deleted his first comment. That way you would have been done with him.

    I’ve told you this before and I’m going to tell you this again. If I were you, I would not allow strangers to comment on your blog. I think this is a very bad idea. Susan agrees with me on this, as you know. I told you this over a year ago.

    Please talk to your father about this, Andrew.

    Andrew, you were not raised to have contact with people like Patner. Patner is not the kind of person you want to have anything to do with.

    You have your father’s fine mind and keen intelligence. You have your mother’s great style and elegance. Don’t waste your time dealing with people like Patner, even online.

    I will say one more thing, Andrew. If anyone ever needed proof that music critics in America are dumb, Patner proves the point for all time on this thread.

    So at least something was achieved.

    Ron Brown

  33. Mr. Brown:

    Thank you for your concern, but I believe I can handle things quite well myself.

    Anyone who blogs and who freely allows comments will occasionally have nuts offer comments. This comes with the territory. All things told, I have had very few nuts offer comments over the course of the last two years, and they have invariably gone away after a day or two. If Andrew Patner hangs around much longer, I shall cut him off. I suspect, however, that Andrew Patner has realized by now that he is playing way out of his league, and I do not expect his return anytime soon.

    My father does not object to my blogging, Mr. Brown--but he has mentioned to me, more than once, that if I ever write about my work, he will call up the power company, impersonate me, and have my electricity turned off.

    Of course, I never blog about work, and I never shall.

    I would not worry if I were you.


  34. Good morning, Andrew.

    Just for the record, I am not a friend of your "wealthy parents" (though I would be delighted to have the honor of meeting them one day), and I was not patting a "cocky toddler" on the head when I posted my comment yesterday. Nor do I think that I made any "out-of-left-field" comment (a pejorative comment?) about anyone.

    One observation though: If one cannot understand the difference between the original definition of a word (or Latin phrase) and its contemporary USAGE, without which the word cannot have a fixed meaning, how can ANY other word which is read by such a person always convey the exact meaning that the writer of that word intended?


  35. Dane, I’m not quite following you or else I’m missing out on your jokes this morning. I don’t think anyone objected to your remarks as “out of left field”.

    In law school, I took an advanced course in taxation. One of the case studies was the MacArthur Foundation. We learned that the MacArthur Foundation is destined to have its charitable purpose struck down by Federal Courts at some point in the future both because of fatal flaws in its trust documents, which therefore will be abrogated, and because its tax-free grants do not meet guidelines set forth in the I.R.S. Code, which therefore will be declared null and void and not entitled to tax exemption.

    For such foundation awards to be tax-free, they must be based upon merit or achievement. The awards of the MacArthur Foundation are not based upon merit or achievement, as the review and selection procedure is little more than a determination of who happens to be “trendy” at a given moment, as decided by a panel of Hard Left loons.

    Our study of the MacArthur Foundation was, by far, the funniest case study I experienced in law school in any class.

    Our professor, one of the most distinguished tax experts in the country, said that the case will be an absolute hoot to litigate, since the MacArthur Foundation will find it impossible to justify its award selection procedure and its history of recipients, and will subject itself to heaps of public scorn as the lists of panel members and the lists of award recipients are placed under a public microscope. He said it will be the greatest tax case since the 1950’s, when there was a series of such notorious cases, and no doubt the funniest U.S. tax case of all time.

    Our professor said that either the I.R.S. will initiate proceedings against the MacArthur Foundation at a time and place of the I.R.S.’s choosing, or else some public-interest group will jump the gun and file suit, seeking a ruling that the MacArthur Foundation does not meet the requirements of a legitimate eleemosynary entity.

    The ultimate outcome of the case either will be a breaking of the corpus of the trust and its dissolution or, far more likely, a court-ordered amendment to the terms of the trust and a new, court-administered procedure for granting awards from Foundation assets.

    Why do I bring this up?

    Look at today’s announcement of award recipients.

  36. Andrew Patner is a jewel of a human being, who is always courteous, always respectful, and always prepared with a kind word for anyone who needs it. As a professional writer and broadcaster, his work is impeccable for its finish.

    He has sterling academic credentials, and I'm incredulous that I even have to defend him on these points. Patner's father Marshall was a respected Chicago attorney. Andrew's radio interviews on WFMT-FM with instrumentalists, singers, conductors, poets, composers, and lyricists bring those people to life week after week. His concert and opera reviews go into detail about how the performers fit into the larger classical world, as well as Chicago's, and give illuminating musical detail that can be understood by everyone, regardless of their level of musical education.

    For anyone to criticize the quality of Patner's writing calls into question their skills of reading comprehension. His writing and meaning is always clear. Your claims to a fine mind because of your legal background remind me of the Saturday Night Live skit when Tracy Morgan played Star Jones on The View, and would end an argument by saying, "And I'm a lawyer." I'll just make one final point, and it's this: Patner does not lie. You can claim something is inaccurate, but you can't say that anything he wrote is factually incorrect.

    If you try to paint me as a Patner ally, and in cahoots with all the other critics, remember this (assuming you bother to look me up): I have friends and colleagues on both sides of this debate, and you better believe I'll stick up for them, too.

  37. Marc:

    Whoever you are, I would take an aspirin and get back to work.

    The quality of Andrew Patner's thought and writing, in his comments here, speaks for itself.


  38. Andrew,

    "His writing and meaning is [sic] always clear", according to Marc: Did you read Mr. Patner's blog entry today?


  39. Andrew:

    This Patner has gone psycho, so I want to clear up something on your “family blog”.

    I’m sure Patner keeps reading you. He’s scared to continue commenting here until he brings his writing and logic up to snuff. That will take decades.

    Let him read this and feel like the scum he is.

    I first mentioned all this back in June/July 2007 in comments here. Anyone who cares to confirm can check.

    Susan and I never met your mother and father. We are not family friends. We would be honored to be family friends, however.

    We met you once. It was October 12, 2004. We met you at a Wolfgang Holzmair recital at the Austrian Embassy in Washington. You were in law school then. Susan and I sat next to you at the recital. We talked to you briefly at the recital. We have never forgotten meeting you.

    We saw you from a distance three more times in Washington. Once was at the Kirov Opera at the Kennedy Center. Once was at a WPAS concert (Concertgebouw). Once was at the Corcoran.

    Susan met your late grandfather three or four times in the 80’s. He was one of the finest gentlemen America ever produced. Susan worked for the white shoe firm Reid & Priest at the old 40 Wall Street address. Your late grandfather visited there a few times. She also met your mother’s oldest brother once at Reid & Priest when he came to New York.

    Other than this, we only know OF you and your family.

    An old man loses a public argument he started to some whippersnapper. He gets embarrassed and starts behaving like a child. He calls out all his old friends to help him.


    Ron Brown

  40. And lest you think I'm an idiot also, don't bother deleting this comment as it would just irritate me. I have it saved everywhere!

    Oh, and GET A LIFE!

  41. The Queen:

    I have removed your comment.

    Please do not use vile language on my blog.

    My mother reads my blog!


  42. No, The Queen, you have not scared me off.

    Have you considered psychiatric assistance?

    It might do you a world of good.


  43. Andrew: Why have your opinions toward Patner changed so drastically? Didn't you say, these pages, that you considered him, along with John von Rhein, an astute barometer of music?

  44. > Have you considered psychiatric assistance?

    Shouldn't I be asking YOU that?

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. The Queen:

    I have stated before, and I am happy to reiterate, that I believe that Andrew Patner is a better judge of orchestras and conductors than most American critics.


  47. Hi Andrew,

    I'm Marc Geelhoed. Maybe I should've made that clear. I write about music and manage a record label, and I don't feel the need to clutter up the page with winsome notes about my beloved family. I do love them, ever so much.

    Yes, Patner is frightened of a Minneapolis lawyer, and is thus not commenting. If I've been hacked at by bigger fish than you, and I have, I can assure you that Patner has, too.

    To "RB" who called Patner "scum," that's just cold, man.

    I'm going to go take an aspirin, right after AndrewAndJoshua settles on a better writing style than innuendo and insult.

    Keep the laffs coming, boys.

  48. Well, then why oh, why do you reduce his body of work as rubbish? Dismiss him as an idiot?

    You know, Andrew, your intelligence is beside--way, way beyond the point here, it is your outright "almighty" behavior that has become a problem. Why don't you get off your high horse and come back down to planet earth where you were born?

  49. Oh, and one more thing: That other critic you seem to despise with an absolute passion, Alex Ross, has just been awarded a $500,000 prize for his contribution to music journalism. Not bad for someone, whose award-winning book, The Rest Is Noise, you were willing, you have said in these pages, to use as a doorstop.

  50. Mr. Geelhoed: RB, DanenRubra, Tennispauljurrisdicator are one and the same: Andrew! Couldn't you tell in the way they glorify "Andrew"? Again, a reflection of Andrew's narcissism.

  51. Marc:

    I like writing about my family. This is my blog.

    If you dislike reading about my family, then don't read my blog.


  52. No one will read your blog after everyone has seen for themselves just what kind of a person you are!

  53. Attorney, you are getting way ahead of yourself. Did Marc say he disliked reading about your family? Oh, you are such a mind reader!

  54. “Ron Brown” has got one heck of a troubled marriage because he is *way* in love with “Andrew.”

    Brilliant, Mr. Patner.

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Sorry for the foul language earlier. You got in coming. Goodbye!

  57. The Queen:

    I have never dismissed Andrew Patner's body of work as rubbish.

    I have never even discussed Andrew Patner's body of work. I responded to Andrew Patner's comments here, which did not address his body of work.

    I have never even mentioned The New Yorker writer in my blog posts. I have discussed him in comments, and only in comments, generally in response to someone else mentioning him first. If you do a search for "Alex Ross" on my blog, your search results will come up empty.

    It was my father, and not I, who described Alex Ross's book as "a satisfactory door stop".

    I have never met Danen Rubbra, nor even exchanged emails with him. Paul was one of my law school classmates and roommates. Ron Brown is a gentleman I met on one occasion, almost four years ago.


  58. Either way, Andrew, your mind thinks the same of these highly-respected critics.

    Yes, your father may have said that. But since you are so utterly attached to your brilliant father, surely, you might think it also! Don't you? Admit it.

  59. So I guess the great unraveling is done now. La commedia è finita.

    There is no Andrew, there is no Joshua. There is no young recent law school graduate of an unnamed Washington D.C. law school now living in Boston.

    There is no Tennis Paul Juris Doctor. No Mr and Mrs Brown. No Mr Rubbra.

    (Mr. Rubbra should certainly have been the early tipoff, along with the use of "Juris Doctor" by two "different" participants and the fact that the whole site reads like a [not at all bad] 1950s Nichols and May routine featuring the castoff educated branch of a Kennebunkport family.)

    There *is* someone, somewhere, presumably middle-aged, probably single, perhaps disturbed, perhaps just making an outlet for odd sides of himself, and somehow he got us all to rest a bit on his Shell No-Pest Strip®. But then, when he had us all in the sandbox, he decided that he wanted us to go away. And so we have.

    About a year ago, a fellow in Denver did a fine analysis of the whole "AndrewAndJoshua" phenomenon:

    Somehow we all missed this back then.

    The only question that remains -- Why is this person so crazy about sleepy time bear Franz Welser-Möst and why does he have it in for Don Rosenberg?

    Wish I could have been Holmes, but I think I was just Watson.

  60. Laugh out loud, Mr. Patner!

    The melodrama has ended it seems. Or has it? You know how pesty lawyers can get!

  61. Andrew Patner:

    I would definitely seek some professional help if I were you.


  62. >I would definitely seek some professional help if I were you.

    No. It is YOU, Andrew, that needs to seek professional help. It's very convenient for you.

    For the rest of us, we have to shell out our hard-earned bucks to seek such a help.

    Has your machine-gun mouth run out of things to say? Or have you just gotten tired of lambasting the entire universe?

  63. Andrew:


    Who are these people? Music critics?

    When I used the word psycho to describe Patner, it was more accurate than I knew!

    Scum doesn't do him justice.

    Ron Brown

  64. Mr. Brown:

    Well, I believe Andrew Patner really is Andrew Patner, but something tells me that The Queen is not HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

    I am speechless.


  65. Sour graping, my dears. Your ammunition has reached zero.


  66. One more thing: GET a personality as you have none.

  67. The Queen:

    Do I have an outstanding question from you?

    It's hard to keep up.


  68. Re: personality. My point exactly!

  69. You're not going to leave Joshua all by himself after all this brouhaha, and come running back to mommy and daddy, are you?

    Poor Josh. He must love you an awful lot to stand by you!

    I'm done here.

  70. The Queen:

    Just like Andrew Patner, you keep saying you are departing, only to return.

    Is there a nationwide outbreak of psychosis of which I am unaware? Or is everyone in the country now unemployed and, for lack of anything better to do, is now following the Donald Rosenberg matter full time and somehow arrived here?

    I think I answered your questions, or at least I tried to answer them. Most of what you wrote required no return comment from me, and was pretty juvenile in any case. You surely realize you are a nut--if not, you are worse off than I imagine.


  71. That's because you're so adorable, Andrew. We, the American public, can't get enough of you.

    Goodbye! Or should I say, see you next time?!

    >Just like Andrew Patner, you keep saying you are departing, only to return.

    Oh, you gotta do better than that!

    Why, why, Andrew? Are you sick of us? Can't you see the point? We love you!

  72. The Queen:

    Sorry, but I must stick with my original diagnosis: psychiatric assistance might do you a world of good.

    You have, however, made for an interesting day.


  73. If I'm such a nut case, then why do respond to my replies?

    Unless I've rattled your coconut shell, you need not answer me. It just feels good to say mean, crazy things to you for you have, for a very long time, been saying crazy, preposterous things to the world!

    >Sorry, but I must stick with my original diagnosis: psychiatric assistance might do you a world of good.

    Seriously now, THAT is all you can come up with?

    Now, I can finally say, adieu!

    The Queen.

  74. The Queen:

    "It just feels good to say mean, crazy things to you."

    I would never have picked up on that in a million years!


  75. Oh, get back to work, Andrew. That is an order from The Queen!

    Your company isn't paying you to chit chat.

    Unless you are not the person you say you are.

    >I would never have picked up on that in a million years!

    Why, of course not! You don't have it in you to be human.

    Auf de hussein.

  76. The Queen:

    Well, today HAS been interesting.

    I have no doubt that my mouth was gaping a few times as I read some of these comments, including a few of yours.

    When are you going to invite me to Buckingham Palace so I can see your Vermeer? You have been keeping that particular painting under wraps the last few years.

    Shame on you!


  77. God, you really ARE a lawyer!

    I've said goodbye already, I have even said auf de hussein,

    What else do you want from me? Would you like for me to sing "So long, farewell" from The Sound of Music, too?


  78. The Queen:

    I think it's pretty obvious I'm a lawyer. Goodness gracious! I'm afraid even to ask what you thought I was.

    Perhaps we can save the "Sound Of Music" selections for another time?


  79. It's not obvious you're a lawyer. It's obvious you're a mama's boy.

  80. I can't believe it. I literally can't believe what I am reading.

    These people are sick, sick, sick.

    And why are they bringing me into this? I don't even follow music.

    Drew, I would delete every one of these posts.

  81. >It's not obvious you're a lawyer. It's obvious you're a mama's boy.

    How are those two sentences sick? It's obviously true, isn't it?

    Oh, the last resort of those who have nothing left to say.

  82. Andrew:

    I think you should look at Patner's website. He's completely lost it. You have driven him off the deep end. You so humiliated him he has become crazed. He says you don't exist. He says I don't exist. I can't tell if "Jonathan" exists or not. He says Danen Rubbra doesn't exist. He says your friend Paul doesn't exist.

    I'd look at his website if I were you.

    Ron Brown

  83. Patner, I'm one of the owners and on the Board Of Directors of a mid-sized brokerage firm headquartered in the Mid Atlantic. Our firm has no debt, uses no derivatives and is highly profitable. Our firm operates nationwide with almost 400 brokers. If you have any brains at all, which you don't, you should be able to figure out who I am. I use my real name.

    And frankly, I could care less whether you think I'm real or not. You're a total horse's ass. Get some help. Some 27 year old kid has driven you crazy. You are demented now. Serves you right, you old coot.

    And, Patner, with friends like yours, who needs enemies?

  84. Well, it is clear now. Crystal.

    Andrew, like a frustrating, first-time novelist, is incapable of giving distinct "voices" to his numerous aliases.

    You can't tell if it's Andrew speaking, or a dude name Ron Brown. Or Danen Rubra. Or Apu Nahamapesatalan.

    And, why may I ask Mr. Brown, a middle-age man of your status--what with a grown-up kid and all--be surfing the web at this hour as you have been doing so all afternoon? Doesn't Mrs. Brown get jealous?

    I've wondered why Andrew had always so much free time on his hands in the afternoons.

  85. Oh, well. Now "Andrew" changes his timbre for us. Utterly convincing.

    RB, at last, your true color has emerged. Do you kiss Mrs. Brown with that mouth?

    And, who gives a f*** if you are President of America. What does that have to do with anything?



    And only yesterday we were supposed to be related!

  87. Dane:

    I see now what you were talking about this morning—“cocky toddler” and all that—which perplexed me earlier.

    Of course, that all pales now in view of far more recent and far more dramatic developments—that you do not exist, that I do not exist, and that God knows who else does not exist. Why didn’t you tell me about your non-existence before now? I hated learning this news from third parties. And why didn’t I figure out before today that I do not exist? I fear my parents will be crushed when they hear the news. “Jonathan”, however, seems to be taking the news in stride, at least when he’s not laughing.

    Seriously, Dane, I have enjoyed our discussions in the past, and I hope that these people have not scared you off from commenting here in future.


  88. Paul:

    Nothing would surprise me after today, and it would not surprise me in the least if, as things turned out, you and I really WERE related. However, first you and I would actually have to exist, and that would be the tricky part, don’t you think? Sort of a cart-before-the-horse thing, the type of hurdle that is hard to overcome?

    No, I am not going to delete the comments. Don’t forget what we learned about cross-examination in Evidence Class: if a witness is bound and determined to act like an idiot, the last thing a good lawyer wants to do is to get in the way.


  89. Mr. Brown:

    I would not pay any attention to these people. For all you know, they might start calling you at work, which is certainly the last thing you would want.

    I reiterate—again—that I can take care of myself.


  90. Two best quotes of the day from Norman Bates:

    "Mr. Brown: I would not pay any attention to these people."


    "I reiterate—again— . . . "

    Oh gosh golly -- I just couldn't help myself! Maybe if they ever let me out of this Mid-Atlantic club car on my way home from that mid-sized firm. . . .

  91. Drew, this guy may be dangerous. He's acting too weird now.

  92. Yes, Paul I know. He's obsessed. He's been on my blog for almost a day and a half, taking a break only between 12:30 a.m. and 3:10 a.m. this morning.

  93. Yep, you better round up the posse -- you, you, you, you, you, and you. Oh, and don't forget him, tho he is also you.

    Wait, at this point I am the only person here who is NOT you.


  94. Anyone who would spend thirty-one of the last thirty-four hours on my blog is a very disturbed person indeed.

    My, how I must have embarrassed you!

    Seek help.

  95. Either yr timing is off or I left the machine on and unattended. So sorry!

  96. Here’s the theory of a government worker (state). Take it for what it’s worth. I’m the comcast user from Simi Valley who spent 2’45” on your site. TENNISPAULURIS is a nice kid. Has no features except for he is friendly. I think he’s a young lawyer just starting out. Makes sense. He hasn’t formed a personality yet. I can’t get any other reading on him because these two are friends and do most of their talk offline. I wager he works for the government. DANENRUBBRA not a native English speaker. He’s not a native American. His English is not natural. I think he’s the scientist he says he is. A music loving scientist. I bought his Russia Germany story because it seems too boring to make up. His comments about loving the US and Americans not loving the US has the ring of truth to it. Lot of quirks with this one. His comments from early in the year were definitely not written by anyone else. Go find the stories about Germany and Russia. Moving. I’m sold. RONBROWN has the features of an upwardly mobile middle class businessman. He’s probably a Rotary club member. He has a temper. He can get down and kick shit with the cows when he has to or when he’s mad. He can also pretend to be upper crust if it will help his business. He tries to be upper class, but he’s not always successful. He has to work at it. If he doesn’t work at it, it doesn’t work. He can write a good business letter when he has to, but he to work at it. If he doesn’t have the time to take care, his words come across like a textile foreman. I also think he's southern. He’s definitely southern or border states. He kisses up to this guy because he kisses up to money. He always kisses up to money. He’s definitely a father and he definitely has kids. He trots the kids out whenever he can. Sometimes I think he is trying to fix up Drew80 with his son. I don’t like him. I don’t think Drew80 likes him. DREW80 is definitely a pill. He’s one of those people you either love or hate. No in between with him. In person he may be nice or a beast. He’s maddening because nothing is ever his problem. It is always someone else’ problem. Everything rolls off his back because he’s so superior he’s untouchable. Glacial at all times. He looks down his nose at everyone. No one is as good as he is. He has his mommy and daddy and their money and he’s secure. Typical youngest child of the rich. Sent to the best schools. Associated with the best people. Socially secure for life. Has been trained to lay on the charm when necessary. If he doesn’t like you, he won’t give you the time of day. Superb in social settings. An trained attorney definitely. Lots of personal attention from mom and dad. Favorite child. Loyal until death. He’d jump off a bridge if mom or dad told him. History is his subject. What he writes about history seems very impressive to an unexpert. English major, I bet. Maybe doubled in history. Thinks he’s the smartest person on the planet. Fantastic wordsmith, but too artificial for this day and age. Too many English papers. Too many history papers. Very northern. Very Scandinavian. Very, very old money Minneapolis. Been to Europe 100 times but has experienced nothing of life. Very young, very sheltered, very immature, but veryy intelligent. He’s argue physics with Einstein and tell Einstein he was wrong. He’s that arrogant. Joshua’s fascinated by the BUCKS. Won’t go near the subject of sex. JOSHUA Joshua is fascinated by the bucks. He likes Drew80 and seems to get along with the family. Sweet I’d say but both of these two are so goddamn innocent. Not as sure of himself. It seems he comes from a broken home. Did he ever tell the full story of the fight with Drew80’s family?. I picked up a little of it here and there. Couldn’t seem to pick up the whole story. I couldn’t quite pick up the story of Drew80’s fight with dad of Josha. Did he ever tell the full story? It was bits and pieces. Drew80 never goes into those things. Joshua will. Likes history. Joint interest between them. Likes to talk sports. Comes across as a nice guy, a little arrogant but not as arrogant as Drew80. FUTUREGRINGO I don’t think Gringo knows these two. I think Grngo’s mad because he kept posting on their blogs and they ignored him so he wrote them up. Cruel. PATZNER You lost your argument. Get over it. You come off worst of all.

  97. Good morning, Andrew.

    Yes, my cover is now blown, much to my embarrassment and shame. I am NOT a native-born speaker of English, although it is documented in Miami-Dade County that I was born in Miami, Florida at Edgewater Hospital on 1 December 1952. I grew up in an American Southern Baptist family speaking fifth-century B.C. Aramaic, which I learned by studying part of the Book of Daniel (those passages written by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar). At age six my mother, against the designs of my father, weaned me from Aramaic to Sanskrit; though as a compromise, I was thrust into the literature of Attic Greek, as well. Indeed, while all the other kids my age were playing ball and learning to cuss in the catholic American way, I was studying tensor analysis, learning to debate in the tradition of the Age of Pericles, and writing my first paper (in Sanskrit): “The Influence of the Semitic Substratum upon the System of Ordinal Numbering in Koine Greek.”

    In fact, I didn’t learn English until I was about 14, but only more or less “acquired” it, to use a word by English novelist Joseph Conrad, who was a native Polish speaker. Unlike Conrad, fortunately, I did not have to go to sea in order to learn English. At least, not literally. My father, you see, locked me up in the bathroom for an entire year with only a copy of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary and the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe.

    (Sabotage! My mother wasn't pleased to see the bathroom after I came out. To borrow a Condrad simile, the little room looked like a fish tank after the water had been drained out.)

    My year's confinement worked. But this is why, Andrew, my English is “not natural.”

    More recently, I discovered at the age of 50 that I was never born in the first place. My birth certificate turned out to be an utter forgery. Moreover, I discovered that I was not EVEN fifty years old, but actually only 23, and that I had been born with the name “Andrew Joshua". Imagine my shock when I found out that I was actually ageing BACKWARD, from old to young. You know, in the same way that Merlin aged. During the last five years I have searched and searched for my true origin:

    Whence Andrew-erstwhile-Danen, Esquire, zygote?

    Last January the answer came: I was actually procreated in the mind of someone else, by way of the carnal union of Rhea Silvia and the god Mars! I am the colorfully antiquated figment of your imagination, Andrew.

    It all fits!! Doesn’t it?

    Seriously, now, I am glad that you have decided to leave all the comments from yesterday in place. As King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiates, “Where the tree falls, there may it lie.” Let the readers of the blog judge the truth for themselves.


  98. Hey, Dane.

    My real mother is Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol. I believe I need to come forward with this information at this time in order to encourage the demented Andrew Sullivan to end his anti-Palin campaign and to check into a mental hospital.

    When my grandmother became Governor of Alaska, she ordered my Birth Certificate destroyed and all evidence of my existence delivered to State archives, where it remains under seal. Alas, now that Grandmother’s email has been hacked and made public, it is inevitable that messages referring to me will come to light. When you read Grandmother’s email messages, whenever you see a reference to “the budget”, you can know with confidence that she really is talking, in code, about me.

    Of course, “The Influence of the Semitic Substratum upon the System of Ordinal Numbering in Koine Greek” has always been one of my personal favorites. In fact, I plan to present a copy to Albert Einstein—I have asked him to drop by this morning so that I can correct a few strange ideas he has about Physics—within the hour.

    (Glacial At All Times But Superb In Social Settings)

  99. Drew, this guy is deranged. I think you should contact the authorities.

    I knew there was something wrong with him when he had to change his opera answer. That much was clear, but since then he’s totally lost it. He’s whacko now. He views you as a real threat to him. He may mean you harm.

  100. Uh, won’t his paper see this? Won’t they have to fire him? He even uses the paper’s name.

  101. Since you're Bristol Palin's son, do you have Down Syndrome?

  102. Am I real? Do I sound real on the phone?

  103. Andrew,

    While you are with Albert, you might mention to him that the "Eyler Equation" of 1966 has thwarted any definitive cohesion within his "Unified Field Theory."

    You know, I tried during lunch to find an English word for "fear of glaciers," assuming the phobia to be generally familiar to natives of Alaska, including your grandmother, Andrew. No such luck! (I suppose there's no Budget there to generate a new entry onto the State's List of Fears.)

    Of course, I could make up a morphologially sound neologism from the Greek, so I'll have to think about that one.

    I'm so pleased that the influence of the semitic substratum on the system of ordinal numbering in Koine Greek is also a fav topic of yours. Gee, Andrew, you must be toting THREE parachutes around with you in Boston. Whew!


  104. Andrew,

    Ah, yes! The fear of glacier is simply "Andrewphobia," which, not surprisingly, is a synonym for "sophophobia."


  105. Dan:

    Well, now that you mention it, I sort of wondered whether you used some advanced kind of artificial intelligence to handle your calls. The tip off, for me, was not necessarily the mechanical, monotone voice—it was when I had to enter an account number and supply my credit card information. There is another possible explanation, of course: you have your phone calls outsourced to a call center in Asia.

    Otherwise: yes; well, I should certainly think so; and it’s too early to tell.


  106. Dane:

    Thanks for the reminder. It was past time for me to take my sophophobia medication, which I take as a preventative against prostrate cancer, to which only Protestants are susceptible, as you know.

    My meeting with Einstein did go as well as I had hoped. When I mentioned “Eyler Equation”, he thought I said “Mylar Evasion”, which sent him off on a tangled monologue about the evil laboratories at DuPont. The interview was all down hill from there. Frankly, he didn’t look well. He was sort of stiff and didn’t have much color to him. I feel guilty now that I even asked him to come out.

    I am still working toward my qualification as a licensed glaciologist, so I feel unprepared to offer a proper term for “fear of glaciers” at present. Therefore, I must go with “Big Pagophobia” until something better comes along.


  107. Andrew, did you see the article in yesterday's Cleveland Free Times. In the "chatter" section an unnamed journalist reported the Rosenberg reassignment, and boy was he(she) mad as hell! Just wait until the New York Times takes the news world-wild and just wait until the London Times finds out! Just wait for the outrage among the Brits who hate Welser-Moest so passionately!

    Is EVERY critic in America so behind the times?

    I can hardly wait.


  108. Thanks, Dane.

    I just read the article.

    Do you mean:

    Every critic in America is so behind the times


    Every critic in America is so behind the Times?

    If the writer of the article is correct, and Rosenberg was quoted accurately, and Rosenberg was speaking truthfully, then this means that the editor of the Plain Dealer said the very same thing my father said: Rosenberg was "no longer tenable". And indeed he was not.

    You know, why didn't Rosenberg take a page from The Tim Page Guide To Reviewing Local Ensembles and write about Welser-Most like Page wrote about Slatkin? That would have saved everybody an awful lot of trouble. Sophisticated readers could read between the lines, and people who truly do not care all that much about the actual quality of the performances could nonetheless remain happy.

    That's the only reasonable position a writer can take in a case in which a local critic does not like a major local ensemble and/or one of its chief personalities.

    Things are different in Paris or Berlin, cities with lots of music activity and lots of newspapers. In Paris or Berlin, one writer cannot kill a local institution, no matter how deadly a long-running series of notices flowing from his pen.

    The same is not true in Hartford or Buffalo.

  109. Andrew,

    Do you think that Andrew Patner gave a second thought to what he actually wrote about that "genius" Alex Ross, calling him "hopelessly talented"?

    That's what I meant yesterday when I qoted Marc: "His [Mr. Patner's] writing and meaning is [sic] always clear."


  110. Dane:

    I have not seen what he has written. I’ll have to look sometime. I don’t read him, but perhaps I should start reading Marc, he of the dangling modifiers, faulty pronouns, faulty subject-verb agreements and television references.

    We made a late-night run to the food store last night, and I received the shock of my life while standing in line at the checkout. What did I see? A photo of Mom and Grandma, with a headline referring to the existence of a video about Mom’s drug use!

    I was mortified, naturally, and wanted to put a plastic bag over my head and asphyxiate myself.

    The only saving grace was that the publication featured an enormous photo of Dr. Phil and Oprah on the cover, as well as a somewhat larger photo of Janet Jackson wearing what appeared to be a tiger outfit. I can only hope that the story about Mom was overshadowed by Dr. Phil and Oprah and Janet, and that the American public will not take notice of this news about Mom’s drug use.

    Nonetheless, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed this morning and come to work. Colleagues have been supportive, happily, and Grandma’s boss seems to be supportive, too, at least publicly, going so far as to clear his current work schedule entirely (although the publicly-stated reason for his cancellation is a thinly-veiled attempt to protect Mom’s reputation).

    I haven’t the heart even to call Mom and ask her about this.

    Of course, Mom’s in class this morning, so I would not be able to reach her anyway.


  111. Andrew,

    Oh my, yes I saw the same thing at Piggly Wiggly yesterday waiting to pay for my Hillshire Farms Knockwurst. For some inexplicable reason, they had removed all the lipstick at the checkout, which made room for more tabloids. The visual impact of that picture - oh, god, Andrew! - completely eclipsed everything else on the rack, including the picture of that poor church mouse in Phoenix that had swallowed a sunburst monstrance.

    Listen, Andrew, if ever those tabloid rascals ever publish a picture of your mom giving birth to an alien from Budget, remember this: the efficacy of Piggly Wiggly plastic bags to asphyxiate unto death is much less than those bags found in either Publix or Albertsons. (The PW bags are a few micons thinner than the Albertsons bags.)

    I hope you do not shop for your knockwurst at Albertsons.


  112. Not much of a knockwurst eater, actually.

    I'm partial to Lunds and Byerly's myself, two chains owned by the same corporate parent, but I doubt that you know either name. I believe it is a pure Twin Cities thing.

    Des Moines-based Dahl's used to be in the Twin Cities, too, prior to a major retrenchment. Dahl's was excellent, too, of the same high quality as Lunds or Byerly's.

  113. Andrew,

    All this talk about food made me think of your mom's dishes.

    I'm going to miss reading about all those dinners. And I am going to miss all the news about the dog.


  114. We'll be home at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    I do miss that dog frightfully.

  115. Andrew, thank you for a thread full of great comedy, it's been fun to read the whole thing over the last couple of days.

    I was in the supermarket after work tonight and glancing at the National Enquirer, I'm sorry to hear about your mom's affair with your dad's business partner. Those heterosexuals.....

  116. Isn't it Grandma, not Mom, who supposedly had an affair with Grandpa's old business partner? Or have I missed a news cycle?

  117. Thank you for your post Andrew.
    The Cleveland's visits to Carnegie Hall have always been the highlight of my season.

  118. I hope you continue to enjoy the Cleveland's concerts.

  119. Pollini is has a recital at Carnegie Hall this season. I can't wait.

    I had tickets to go see him and Abbado at the Berlin Philharmonic but had to cancel that trip as my assistant quit on me.

  120. I hope you enjoy Pollini's Carnegie recital. I like Pollini very much. I hope he does not cancel on you.

    He will play the Schumann Pinao Concerto in Boston. I would much rather he play Beethoven or Brahms. I don't understand what appeal the Schumann Piano Concerto holds for him. The Schumann Piano Concerto has always struck me as a young pianist's concerto.

    I never cared for the Schumann Piano Concerto. I prefer the Schumann Cello Concerto and even the Schumann Violin Concerto to the Schumann Piano Concerto. I don't think the Piano Concerto holds together particularly well.

  121. Piano Concerto, not "Pinao" Concerto.

  122. Calvin and I read the ongoing Cleveland Orchestra comments with amazement as they were going on . . .and on and on, until the beer hillbillies were worn down at last.

    We saw no point in commenting. Our comments would have been lost in the shuffle, and your visitors were not worth responding to.

    Yobbos move in packs, you know. That is their method.

    I am surprised chavs read your blog. Not quite their style, I should say. They belong elsewhere.

    I want to tell you something. We thought your dismissal of Ronald Harwood might have raised a ruckus. Instead, an innocuous few paragraphs about the Cleveland Orchestra appear, and pathological ruffians emerge left and right. You must understand now why Calvin does not like most Americans and hated his time in New York.

    It would be nice to have you fellows for dinner, but we are having curry!

    Enjoy your weekend. Do something fun.


  123. I thought it was Australians Calvin had a problem with.

  124. I do not have a problem with Australians!


  125. Don't forget to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum!

    Yes I hope he doesn't cancel on me.

    This is the published program:

    Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, "The Tempest"
    Sonata No. 23 in F Minor "Appassionata"

    Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17
    Four Mazurkas, Op. 33
    Scherzo No. 2

  126. That is an excellent, excellent program. I am envious. I would much rather hear Pollini in that program than in the Schumann concerto. I am confident you will enjoy it immensely.