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.