Joseph Davis of Calgary, Alberta has written what may be the greatest Amazon.com review ever, responding to the jazz album Vaghissimo Ritratto by Gianluigi Trovesi, Fulvio Marras, Umberto Petrin:
I’m very disappointed with this CD. I kept getting up while it was playing to go over to the stereo cabinet to check the CD case to make sure that it really was an ECM CD. It’s so treacly, fluffy, silly. Yuck! I kept thinking there must be some mistake. After all, this thing was produced by Manfred Eicher himself. I worship at the alter of Manfred Eicher. I kept waiting for the music to get better. It didn’t. How is it possible to take the sublime music of Desprez, Palestrina, Di Lasso and Monteverdi and turn it into something so aggravating? Finally I had to restrain myself from going down into the cellar to get an axe, which I was going to cleave my CD player with. I know, wouldn’t it have been simpler and less expensive to just remove the CD and smash it instead? But that’s the thing about music, its joy and its mystery. It is not rational. It is un-rational. It taps into and stimulates non-logical circuits in the brain. This CD tapped into violent and destructive ones for me. Fortunately they were all directed towards the CD itself. I love ECM and ECM New Series CDs. I can honestly say that this is the first one I have reacted violently to. Perhaps you would react differently to it. My suggestion, though, is that you listen to this CD, or at least portions of it, before you purchase it. I have given it a two star rating, instead of a one star rating, out of loyalty to the ECM label, and because of the beautiful cover art. Maybe I should get really drunk and try listening to this CD again? Or maybe I should take it to a book club? You know, the kind where attractive women lounge around drinking lattes and seriously discussing books with titles like ‘Snow Falling On White Oleanders’ or ‘The Time Traveler Who Divorced His Wife and Married the Memory Keeper’s Daughter’. Or maybe I’ll just smash it with my axe.
I’m hoping to get a hold of the album. The review’s writing reminds me of Mark Helprin’s Memoir From Antproof Case.