According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest song title ever was that of Hoagy Carmichael’s 1945 ditty, “I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues.” I think I may possibly hold the record for the longest title of an orchestra piece: The Disappearance of All Holy Things from this Once So Promising World. Like several of my titles, it’s a line from a poem by the great underrated poet Kenneth Patchen. The piece is being played next Thursday, June 15, in Paris, conducted by Elizabeth Askren on a program of American music:
It’s the work’s first performance since the premieres by the Woodstock Orchestra in 1998. I, alas, won’t be there. But I’m having such a blast making microtonal orchestras with Li’l Miss Scale Oven and Kontakt 2.1 that it would take more than a mere Continental premiere to crowbar me away from my computers.
UPDATE: Art Jarvinen says he has a chamber orchestra piece with a longer title: Mass Death Of A School Of Small Herring (The Natural History Of Deductible Rooms). Personally, I think having a subtitle in parens is cheating.