Minor Infractions: A Crescendo of Disapproval

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 10.48.55 AMViolist Miles Hoffman fulminates against “reached a crescendo,” a wrong note to any musician.

All these people, and so many others — oh my goodness, so very many others — have “reached,” or have described events or emotions “reaching,” crescendos. And they not only thought it was O.K. to reach crescendos — they thought, in reaching them, that they were being particularly clever; that they were hitching up their skirts to show flashes of musical knowledge.

But here’s the thing: as God — along with Bach, Beethoven and Mozart — is my witness, you cannot “reach” a crescendo.

I guess it’s proof of the old adage from Aaron Copland,
“If a literary man puts together two words about music, one of them will be wrong.”

Don’t get me started on how to pronounce “it’s not my forte.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 10.49.04 AM
One of the great crescendos in music, the opening of Das Rheingold