02 December 2006

Whiter shade of Pale-giarism

Where there's a hit there's a writ, and no sillier example than that Procul Harum organist zimmering out of the woodwork to claim composer's credit simply on the strength of his opening chords.

Well, Pete Smaill sees him off with a splendidly erudite letter to November 25's Spectator, pointing out that:

"JS Bach wouldn't last long in court suing Procul Harum for, er, 'adapting' the 'Air on a G String' to become 'Whiter Shade of Pale'. That's because he himself ripped off Vivaldi, copied Handel and even reset the popish 'Stabat Mater' by Pergolesi.

However, conscious of the need to fingerprint several significant works, his putatively final masterpiece, the 'Art of the Fugue', is signed in German musical notation, BACH.

Less well known is that his very first cantata, BWV 150, has a BACH verbal acronymn in the final four lines.

If it is accepted that there is a code in which B=1, A=2, C=3 and H=8, then a whole host of works are signed with the magical gematric 14, including the 'Mass in B Minor' and 'St John Passion', not to mention the 14 sharps in the penitential 'Advent Chorale', 'Nunkomm der Heiden Heiland'

Rather a good word, 'pale-giarise', (tho' I say so myself). Leaves no doubt about the feebleness of the filcher in only coming up with a pale shadow of the original.

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