I1 had2 the3 distinct4 honor—no, honor is much too weak of a word: dignity, or perhaps, even, glory would be more appropriate—of attending a concert by the late, and oh! so highly esteemed Aurélie Givry: her Concerto for Lawnmower and Cigarette, Opus 49.2. Oh! The ecstasy. In my many years as an esteemed music critic and respected connoisseur, few performance have attained the celestial heights that were attained on last Tuesday night. The power and poignancy of the lawnmower were well balanced by the visual splendors of the cigarette, the elegant curls of smoke, the vibrant smell. The senses reel, the mind holds itself apart from time in boundless awe!
The concerto begins with a vibrant and well-articulated lawnmower solo. With a powerful purr, Niklas Rothschild plays his lawnmower like a delicate flower. And Medoro Pinto! He can smoke a cigarette like no other. His entrances were precise, perfectly modulated. The smoke from his elegant cigarette transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. With decisive strokes, his cigarette traces patterns that are, at one and the same time, everyday motions and ethereal harmonies. Rothschild sets off these polished maneuvers with a calm and compassionate accompaniment, before taking the lead with unspeakable dynamism.
To prevent any misunderstandings, it is necessary to relate that, during most of this concert, I was in the bathroom drinking tea. All the same, I can steadfastly attest to the brilliance and splendor of this landmark piece of music.
Public domain image: Elizabeth Nourse, “Woman with Cigarette.” . Available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nourse_Woman_with_cigarette.jpg.
- The reason for writing I is . . . the orthographic habit in the middle ages of using a ‘long i’ (that is, j or I) whenever the letter was isolated or formed the last letter of a group; the numeral ‘one’ was written j or I (and three iij, etc.), just as much as the pronoun. (Otto Jespersen, “Growth and Structure of the English Language,” 233.) ↩
- Last Tuesday, to be precise. ↩
- Definite article, late Old English þe, nominative masculine form of the demonstrative pronoun and adjective. After c.950, it replaced earlier se (masc.), seo (fem.), þæt (neuter), and probably represents se altered by the th- form which was used in all the masculine oblique cases (see below). ↩
- cf René Descartes, Discourse on Method passim; and idem, Meditations on First Philosophy, passim. ↩