Classic New York Times tautology

Classic New York Times tautology


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2017

The Times headline on a report of the death of Georges Pretre:

Georges Prêtre, French Conductor Known for Interpretation, Dies at 92


Now what else would he be known for – the colour of his socks?

Apart from that, Michael Cooper’s prompt report is faultless.


  • Carlos Solare says:

    I hope your house is made of really solid glass…

  • Bruce says:

    You’d think it would be obvious that a conductor would be “known for interpretation.” However, we all know that conductors can be more famous for other things. For example, here is the NY Times obituary for Karajan:

  • herrera says:

    Funny you should ask. To answer, here are the NYT’s previous obituary headlines for famous conductors:

    – “Herbert von Karajan … Musical Perfectionist”
    – “Leonard Bernstein…Music’s Monarch”
    – “Carlos Kleiber … Music’s Perfectionist Recluse”
    – “Claudio Abbado … Conductor With a Global Reach”
    – “Pierre Boulez, Music’s Uncompromising Modernist”
    – “Neville Marriner, a Prolific Musician and Acclaimed Conductor”

    Voilà, what else besides interpretation a conductor could be known for.

    • Bruce says:

      When the NYT first published their announcement of Boulez’s death, the headline referred to him as an eminent composer. (They did change it to include conductor.)

    • Sue says:

      And yet that epithet for Kleiber was wrong anyway; he maintained a wide circle of friends, either by phone or correspondence, until the day before he died.

  • Joel says:

    I don’t think the headline is as meaningless as some; it’s just incomplete. He was known for his unusual interpretation of standard repertoire. The Times understandably shortened the headline.