Saturday, March 28, 2009

Irving Fine

A longstanding jest of mine was to answer, when asked about my career goals, that I wanted to be at least as famous as Irving Fine, he being (in my mind) a perfect example of a composer of some talent who is known by other composers but not well known among the general populace, unlike some of his fellows in the Boston Six, e.g. Lenny Bernstein and Aaron Copland and also due to the rhythmic-rhyming connection between our monikers. Unfortunately this particular goal will most likely not be achieved, but recently I found the late composer and I have some interests in common. From the bio by Phillip Ramey:

Although Irving's sisters frequently used the word "normal" to describe their brother, his first sexual experience was anything but that. He told Verna, who confided it to her daughters many years later, that at age six he had been molested by a twelve-year-old neighborhood girl who was acting as his babysitter. He was sexually active early on, and in his teens sometimes frequented whorehouses in Boston with a friend named Stanley. He also liked to write smutty limericks.

Verna recalled that Irving appreciated women with large breasts, theorizing that this might be because his mother and sisters were thus endowed. One summer in the late 1940s, while sitting on the lawn with his wife and Aaron Copland, Irving gave a quiet wolf whistle as an extremely busty female in a revealing halter passed by. Verna, who had average-sized breasts and was used to his ways, said, "Oh, Irving, act your age." Copland, puzzled, asked: "Can you explain to us why you like those ghastly things?" Irving just smiled. All his life he was a bit of a flirt, charming both sexes, although Verna insisted that he had no homosexual inclinations, even in adolescence.

I'll leave it to the reader to decide what features of the above we share.

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