It’s Danny Kaye, ma!

20 September 2006

In what is becoming a frequent occurrence, I sketched a definition of what rhetoric is to a friend today, having just come from a meeting of the Rhetoric Society of America, Hilo chapter. Another frequent occurrence followed: that my definition was essentially useless until I supplied some examples in the form of the forums planned for this semester.

Later this afternoon, I submitted a stern yet enthusiastic comment to iTunes, stating in some uncertain terms that they would lose me as a customer if they didn’t acquire the song ‘Tchaikovsky,’ sung by Danny Kaye in the 1941 musical ‘Lady in the Dark.’ The musical was composed by Kurt Weill, and Wikipedia posits that this song was performed a capella because no orchestra could keep up. While I do not dispute Danny Kaye’s puissance, it’s hard to give credence to that statement, knowing what some musicians can do.

All of this is by way of saying that if you can pronounce the following list in under a minute, consider a career in show business:

Maliszewski, Rubinstein, Arensky, Tchaikovsky, Sapellnikoff, Dmitriev, Tscherepnin, Kryjanovsky, Godowsky, Artiboucheff, Moniuszko, Akimenko, Soloviev, Prokofiev, Tiomkin, Korestchenko, Glinka, Winkler, Bortniansky, Rebikoff, Ilyinsky, Medtner, Balakirev, Zolotarev, Kvoschinsky, Sokolov, Kopyloff, Dukelsky, Klenovsky, Shostakovich, Borodin, Glière, Nowakowsky, Lyadov, Karganoff, Markevitch, Pantschenko, Dargomyzhsky, Stcherbatcheff, Scriabin, Vassilenko, Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Gretchaninoff, Glazunov, César Cui, Kalinnikov, Rachmaninov, and Rumshinsky.

Skill with words, whatever you use it for is rhetoric. Keeping that in mind, the NPR blog host JJ Sutherland posted an it’d-be-funny-if-this-stuff-wasn’t-so-damned-serious . . . okay-maybe-it’s-still-a-little-funny review of Hugo Chavez’s performance at the UN General Assembly.

That brings us to the theme for this post: 39 second audio clips. As Peter Schickele, another rhetor of yet a different kind says, here’s looking at you.

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One Response to “It’s Danny Kaye, ma!”


  1. […] NPR appears to be keeping JJ Sutherland as the host of their blog for so long because he posts about five times a day. Which is good if they are using the blog to increase circulation for stories. Well it’s working–I keep linking to them. […]


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