David Raksin, the genial and gentlemanly master of ceremonies of New Music in Los Angeles for many years, once regaled me for about 20 minutes with stories of 1940's MGM staff-composer banter. Or was it 20th Century Fox staff-composer banter. It was pretty funny. (Here's a better bio.)
Basically he made it sound like a bad pun competition - but collective nouns could be used as weapons as well. You remember "a murder of crows", right? That's the best known example of a collective noun, there are lots more. Here's a list of animal collective nouns. Think of it as taxonomy for poets.
David's funniest collective nouns did not describe groups of animals but groups of people. I wonder if that's where I heard the phrase "a waiting of ushers". I wish I remembered more. My memory you know.
I'd like to suggest that the proper name for a group of composers is an "asylum".
I'm moved to this comment by what Daniel Wolf wrote about an off-hand comment from Roger Bourland. (Like me, both of those bloggers have day jobs and are also composers.) Daniel even mentions the Independent Composers Association, the group I wasted so much of my own life on.
In Roger's rebuttal to Daniel he names names of the West Coast Music Mafia (actually, he just names the L.A. "family", but whatever.) Those are the people who, according to Roger, decide what gets heard here-abouts.
Composers (even failed composers like myself) have long memories and a sense of entitlement and don't mind carrying grudges for a long, long time. And of course we have that one sine qua non of being a composer - a BIG ego. (A little musical talent helps, of course, but it's not essential.)
When confronted with such emotions I try to remind myself to concentrate on writing music. That's what makes someone a composer. Yeah, a little recognition would be nice. But it ain't gonna happen for most of us.
In other news, I've finally started work on the fourth and final movement of my Midi-Symphony entitled "Wagner and Schubert Have Intercourse". Ask for it by name!
P.S. I would suggest that Daniel's list of L.A. composers' groups from back in the day should also include LAFMS and CRMO Maybe others too. My memory you know.
P.P.S. Click on the bunny or balloon pictures to see the larger versions.
Bunny-Balloon-Composer Tags: bunnies. . . balloons. . . blog filler. . . New Music. . . composers. . . Daniel Wolf. . . Roger Bourland. . . Los Angeles. . . Independent Composers Association. . . collective nouns. . . composer groups. . . David Raksin
P.P.P.S. Before I could press "publish", Roger's list of names was removed from Daniel's blog. Ah, I fear for his personal safety because the West Coast Music Mafia probably knows where he works. The names on his list that I remember were Ernest, Dorrance, Betty, Esa-Pekka, Alan, Mark and John. There may have been others. My memory you know. And he made a reference to a review by (another, now deceased) Daniel which actually made me curious about how bad his Jackie O piece could possibly have been. I think that's the reference - it was a while ago. My memory.
P.P.P.P.S. Maybe someday I'll tell the story of how I broke into David Raksin's house and why Leslie and I associate that event with cheesecake.
P.P.P.P.P.S. If you're interested in the whole WCMMM (West Coast Music Mafia Meme) Roger Bourland did continue the thought in his post Updating Opinions.