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#6508 - 09/14/00 04:35 AM key player
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
The expression "key player" is found rather frequently these days in economic contexts (mergers and acquisitions). But I couldn't find it so far in any of the online dictionaries. Does anyone know its birth date?


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#6509 - 09/14/00 05:42 PM Re: key player
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Well, well, here we go again.

For this term, we have to look back at the 18th century, during the time of the great classical composers (Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms, etc.) The composer that we need to focus on now is Mozart, the child prodigy. A lesser known fact about Mozart is that he had a younger brother, named Wilhelm, who was just a proficient in music as Wolfgang. While Wolfgang exercised his mastery at the piano, Wilhelm shone with the key; yes, the key. This is a small instrument, akin to the triangle, that is struck with a little bronze mallet. Wilhelm Mozart became quite popular for his musical skill and earned himself the nickname as "The Key Player".

Unfortunately, Wilhelm didn't have a burning lust to be a famous musical composer. His real passion was in business. He was actual the world's first known venture capitalist and helped many businesses, including the Stradivarius Violin company, when it was on the brink of financial disaster. Throughout his business career, Wilhelm retained the nickname "Key Player" and whenever he brought two companies together in a giant merger, there would be headlines across Europe reading to the effect of "Mozart 'Key Player' in Recent Merger".

Thank you, this has been a production of Capricious Pilfer


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#6510 - 09/14/00 07:24 PM Re: key player
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Cute.
[n.b.:Brahms was 19th century (1833-1897). And Bach composed in the Baroque style, not Classical]


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#6511 - 09/14/00 08:32 PM Best I could do
Jackie Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Well, I finally thought of trying just the word key, since
that seems to be the keyword (wordplay very much intended!)
in this and other phrases. Got this much at Lycos:
"...Known to the Egyptians and other ancient civilizations, locks and keys are mentioned in the Bible. Warded locks were known to the Etruscans,..."



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#6512 - 09/14/00 11:40 PM Re: key player
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
Thank you, this has been a production of Capricious Pilfer

Jazzoctopus, I enjoyed your post so much that I had to I read it again, and that's when I noticed the above. My question is this: "From whom did you pilfer it?



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#6513 - 09/14/00 11:43 PM Re: key player
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
[n.b.:Brahms was 19th century (1833-1897).

It's OT I know, but could someone tell me if Tchaikovsky really did describe Brahms as "a talentless bastard", or whether the phrase as I read it had been exaggerated in translation? Thanks


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#6514 - 09/15/00 06:04 AM Re: key player
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I don't know if Tchaikovsky really said it but here's a few others:

Ten composers on other composers:

"I have played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a talentless bastard!" Tchaikovsky on Brahms

"His absurd cacophony will not be music even in the thirtieth century" Cui on Richard Strauss

"He makes me sad because he is really a cultured, agreeable man yet composes so very badly" Mendelssohn on Berlioz
"Obviously mad" Berlioz on Wagner

"Berlioz minus the melody" Auber on Wagner

"There was a gross error in the programme. Instead of 'Symphony' they should have printed 'Cacophony'" Arensky on Scriabin

"I found the Second Symphony to be vulgar, self-indulgent, and provincial beyond all description" Virgil Thomson on Sibelius

"The [Ninth Symphony's] fourth movement is so ugly, in such bad taste, and the conception of Schiller's Ode so cheap, that I cannot understand how such a genius as Beethoven could write it down" Spohr on Beethoven

"The Dante Symphony is hell, and the tone poems survive only by constantly renewed neglect" Stravinsky on Liszt

"Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune has pretty sonority, but
one does not find in it the least musical idea" Saint-Saëns on Debussy

And I thought it was only Salieri's thoughts about Mozart that had survived (or was that made up for the play?)

http://www.classiccd.co.uk/fun/Lists/List26.html



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#6515 - 09/15/00 06:14 AM Re: Best I could do
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I think you are not thinking laterally enough. Think about arches, stones and the bible. See if that gets you any further.


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#6516 - 09/15/00 06:54 AM Re: Best I could do
wsieber Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 1026
Loc: Switzerland
Of course I know the expression key stone, but a key stone is indispensable wheareas a key player.. I don't know.


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#6517 - 09/15/00 08:14 AM Re: Best I could do
Jackie Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I think you are not thinking laterally enough. Think about arches, stones and the bible. See if that gets you any further

Those were in fact my first thoughts, at least keystone was.
It's obvious, I think, that the word key in all kinds of phrases indicates that a particular object is of prime importance. But his question was about the "birthday" of the phrase. I couldn't find any ref. at all to key player,
so I thought to try looking back to see when the first literal keys were invented, as their importance/necessity would have been immediately obvious.

As I said, it was the best I could do. I imagine that the
phrase key player was coined in the 20th century, probably in relation to some sport, but don't really know. It is also commonly used re: one person in a business deal.


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