It must be echt Viennese,

with such and such an emphasis in the horns,

the second violins tuned lower

and the first higher, an old trick of ours.

It must be lieblich,

the time ever so slightly forced,

and have a brilliance (I know you won’t understand this)

such that, in the forte,

it yearns.

You will play a caper in the air,

just as I direct you.

You will feign charm.

A certain delicacy is essential.

To falsify, that you know.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 34 Number 2, on page 28
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