[PW] ? Quote About Wagner's Music (Quotation Query #755)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 13:20:33 PST 2016

Here are some more details. On August 4, 1887 "The Wichita Daily
Beacon" reprinted a column by Bill Nye with an acknowledgement to the
"New York World" newspaper. (Hence, an earlier citation exists in the
"New York World").

The column called "His Information Bureau" began with a letter from
"TRUTH SEEKER" to Nye that posed several questions. One question was
about classical music. The word "distinguish" was spelled

[ref] 1887 August 4, The Wichita Daily Beacon, His Information Bureau:
Bill Nye Takes a Man into His Confidence and educates Him (From the
New York World), Quote Page 2, Column 2, Wichita, Kansas.

[Begin excerpt]
What is the peculiarity of classical music and how can one destinguish it?
[End excerpt]

Nye answered with a version of the quip that was later applied to
Wagner's music.

[Begin excerpt]
The peculiar characteristic of classical music is that it is really so
much better than it sounds.
[End excerpt]

On November 22, 1889 "The Indianapolis News" reported that Bill Nye
employed the Wagner quip while he was visiting Philadelphia:

[ref] 1889 November 22, The Indianapolis News, "SCRAPS", Quote Page 2,
Column 3, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Newspapers_com)[/ref]


[Begin excerpt]
Says a Philadelphia newspaper: "Bill Nye on his recent visit to this
city to lecture called upon a well-known music lover, and while there
was asked to write in an autograph album. He did so, and among other
things wrote the following: "Wagner's music, I have been informed, is
really much better than it sounds.'"
[End excerpt]


On Sun, Nov 20, 2016 at 2:28 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Barry Popik has a valuable entry on the topic here:
> http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/wagners_music_is_better_than_it_sounds
> The newspapers.com database has some slightly earlier citations:
> The "classical music" variant in "Bill Nye's Bureau" article here:
> The Shippensburg Chronicle
> Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
> Thursday, September 1, 1887 - Page 4
> The "Wagner's music" variant here:
> The Indianapolis News
> Indianapolis, Indiana
> Friday, November 22, 1889 - Page 2
> I will share more details when I have a chance. Alternatively, someone
> may antedate these citations.
> Garson

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