Counterpoint on R4

I had lunch with Paul Gambacini today.

Well, kind of. I was eating lunch. He was on BBC R4, compering the first in the new season of Counterpoint the classical-ish music quiz.

One of the questions was: Who composed the Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes (the answer BTW was Grace Williams. No, me neither).

Now I may not have heard of that work before (my O level Music is a bit dusty) but I thought I’d heard the word ‘Fantasia’. And if you’re still reading this, by now you will have heard the word twice in your head: how do you say it?

I’ve always assumed it was fantayzia; but Paul Gambaccini called it fantasseea.

Anyway, I enjoyed the music – everything from Purcell to Puffing Billy via Wagner. Cue Paul G quoting Woody Allen: “I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.”

I enjoyed the quiz but did feel a pang for the poor bloke who got the question “Who played Sky Masterson in the film of Guys and Dolls?” and could remember everything about Marlon Brando – at length – except his name.

Talking of names, I can’t think of a more perfect title for a music quiz than Counterpoint. It’ll be another fantassee lunch date with Paul G next week.


1 Comment »

  1. I’m with you on the pronunciation, Bridget. But then what would I know? I only discovered the correct pronunciation of the wine Semillon after Humph mentioned it in Clue (“…As usual, record researcher Samantha went to fetch the teams’ records from the gramophone library earlier, where she found the kindly old archivist sampling wines for Christmas. He’d brought in a selection of French wines, but there wasn’t much left by the time Samantha got there, so although she was disappointed he only had a Semillon, she thought it would be impolite not to taste it anyway…”)

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