In the delightful new book by Michael Steinberg and Larry Rothe, For the
Love of Music, Rothe devotes a chapter to the career of classical music
popularizer Sigmund Spaeth. Spaeth was prominent in the '20s through
the '50s, writing books and making radio appearances as "The Tune
Detective", and on the Met broadcasts. Rothe has great fun discussing
Spaeth's magnum opus in music appreciation, Great Symphonies: How to
Recognize and Remember Them, wherein Spaeth provides lyrics -- "symphonic
texts" he called them -- to stapes of the repertoire. A couple of
Beethoven's 5th, opening of last movement, that great C Major Moment:
Fall in line, and let your armor shine!
We have won, we have won,
And all the struggle with the enemy is done!
Opening of Schumann's Rhenish:
Rhineland, lovely Rhineland
Full of beauty, song, and story,
Land of legend, land of glory!
Rothe rightly brands these nutty mnemonics as "ridiculous", and bemoans
the fact that, having been exposed to them in his youth, he can't hear
some pieces of music without Spaeth's doggerel popping into his head.
However, Rothe does give Spaeth due credit as a sincere and energetic
musical missionary. Robert Slichta's and Jon Gallant's traumatic music
appreciation experiences likely derive from Spaeth.