Thank you for your article on the Dallas Opera ["Building to a crescendo," February 2], which was quite good and quite enjoyable.
One minor point, however, meant in the spirit of edification and better writing: "Build to a crescendo" is one of those phrases that we are taught to avoid in Good Writing 101. Though possibly prevalent in "popular" romance novels of dubious literary merit, such word selection has no place in an article on the arts.
The word "crescendo" is the present participle of the Italian verb crescere, meaning to grow; hence, in music, a building of dynamic (loudness) level. One does not build to a crescendo, but rather, crescendos to a climax, or rather, to a "forte" (literally, "strong," i.e. loud). To say that one is building to a crescendo is to say that one is, literally, growing to a growing--a nonsensical construction of thought, and a common error for one not trained in the disciplines from which one borrows one's metaphors, in this case, the science of music.
While arguably a small point, as the prophet of old said, "Who has despised the day of small things?" For, aspire as we might to be a world-class city of knowing music lovers, by putting such unlettered and banal titles to our cover stories, we reveal ourselves to be still the pioneer cabin-builders who have not yet learned our first grammars by heart.
Aside from that, I loved the article! Thank you. Vive l'art!
Your article on the Dallas Opera does give one hope for the future. I feel Mr. Jenkins brings fresh air to the company. Yet as some of us former company members have felt for a few years now, Mr. Karayanis should have had the same goals for growth and education in the past as he feels so strongly about now. Maybe then we wouldn't have lost Maestro Rescigno, a good friend to the Dallas Opera, and a fine teacher.
Hanged in Texas
In your January 26 issue there is a story by Glenna Whitley titled "Death Row Granny." On at least three occasions you use the sentence, "Now she's likely to become the first woman the state of Texas has ever executed."
I draw your attention to the case of Chipita Rodriguez. On October 10, 1863, she was convicted of the murder of horse trader John Savage in the Fourteenth District Court of Texas at San Patricio, Texas. On Friday, November 13, 1863, Chipita Rodriguez was legally hanged.
Chipita Rodriguez was the first woman the state of Texas ever executed.
Editor's note: Mr. Smylie is right about Chipita Rodriguez, who was hanged when Texas was a part of the Confederacy. Betty Beets would be the first woman executed since Reconstruction.
Are you dissatisfied with Robert Wilonsky's music coverage? Y'all need to cut Wilonsky some slack. Take a look at his plate--it isn't just full, it is overflowing. This guy has to cover it all--rap, R&B, tejano, folk, jazz, rock, country...
I've read R.W. since the days of the Times Herald and haven't agreed with everything he's written. But his words are usually well-thought-out and backed up with solid facts, if not well-founded opinion. If bitter-bashing has replaced his genuine and constructive criticism, look to Robert's workload and try to imagine yourselves with the same responsibilities. Have any of you ever tried to write 2,000-4,000 words every week? Words that convey both facts and personal emotion and judgments?
As for R.W.'s seemingly constant coverage of the same small coterie of bands and clubs, and while that's probably an accurate observation, who doesn't prefer to talk about what is of most interest to them? And don't forget that Robert didn't just fall off the turnip truck. R.W. has years of experience in dividing the best from the rest.
But he does know well what he does know. And it is worth reading. One guy can only do so much, and if he does that well, who can bitch about it?