Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Word of the day: chinoiserie

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day is chinoiserie:

chinoiserie \sheen-wah-zuh-REE\ noun
: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs; also : an object or decoration in this style
This word always makes me think of Duke Ellington: the Ellington-Strayhorn adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker turns the “Chinese Dance” into “Chinoiserie.” And The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse (1971) begins with Ellington’s own “Chinoiserie,” a feature for the tenor saxophonist Harold Ashby. Here is the studio recording and, even better, a performance from a 1973 concert. That concert, released as Rugged Jungle (Lost Secret, 2003) is ample evidence that even in its last days, the Ellington band could be a force of nature.

comments: 0