Music appreciation

One of the books I tested my new glasses with is Alex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, recommended by Steven. Here’s a trivia quiz based on it.

Identify the speaker:

1. “I have actually outlived myself.”

2. “Defend me, Spaniards, from the Germans, who do not understand and have never understood music.”

3. “All the doctors who wanted to forbid me to smoke and to drink are dead.”

4. “Beauty of sound is beside the point.”

5. “Thank God! Finally a Reich Chancellor who is interested in art!”

6. “There is, thank God, a large segment of our population that never heard of J.S. Bach.”

7. “Beethoven was wrong!”

8. True or false: Debussy served as the thirty-third grand master of the Prieuré de Sion.

9. Who told a tenor saxophone player to play a descending major seventh with “sex appeal”?

10. Who was known to wear “a peach-colored shirt, a green tie with white polka-dots, a knit belt of the most vivid purple with a large and ostentatious gold buckle, and an unbelievably loud gray suit with lots of black and brown stripes”?

11. Who, according to Pierre Boulez, “… had displayed ‘the most ostentatious and obsolete romanticism'”?

12. Who, according to Pierre Boulez, was “… a ‘performing monkey” whose methods betrayed ‘fascist tendencies'”?

13. Who was apparently born near Cologne in 1928, but actually was of extraterrestrial origin and had lived many past lives?

14. What is 8’37” better-known as?

15. Who was “the best drug connection in New York”?



1. Richard Strauss
2. Igor Stravinsky
3. Jean Sibelius
4. Paul Hindemith
5. Richard Strauss
6. Harry Partch
7. John Cage
8. False
9. Anton Webern
10. Arnold Schoenberg
11. Arnold Schoenberg
12. John Cage
13. Karlheinz Stockhausen
14. Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, by Krzysztof Penderecki.
15. La Monte Young


One thought on “Music appreciation”

  1. As a music history student who just took her comprehensive exams, I am somewhat ashamed that I don’t know more of these. I only got 8, 11 and 14. But I can’t say that 13 or 15 surprise me in the least.

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