or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Voice Lesson

When I (sort of) rebooted this blog in January, I said I was done with sniping about typos and grammatical errors and the painfully obvious lack of editing in most every publication on Earth these days, but here's one so egregious I can't let it go.

In today's Toronto Star is a piece entitled "Opera queen bewitches", reviewing a Friday-night concert by American soprano Renée Fleming accompanied by pianist Hartmut Höll. A paragraph about a pair of modern songs by composer Henri Dutilleux is followed by this:

Despite being fiercely difficult and modern, both Fleming and Höll burnished the score into a melancholy magnificence….

Do modern writers and editors actually not review their copy to make sure that adjectival phrases are correctly related to their subjects? Do they not teach this in journalism school? As the sentence is written, "fiercely difficult and modern" describes the singer and pianist, not the songs they're performing, and rewriting it to be unimpeachably correct would have been so easy: "Despite its fierce difficulty and modernity, Fleming and Höll burnished the score…." would have done the job.


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