Read Me to Sleep, Ricky

Wilde Aphorisms, Chopin Nocturnes

September 29, 2022 Rick Whitaker Season 2 Episode 5
Read Me to Sleep, Ricky
Wilde Aphorisms, Chopin Nocturnes
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Show Notes Transcript

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was the pre-eminent master of the aphorism in the second half of the 19th century. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was one of the greatest of all pianists and his compositions were mostly for solo piano, and most were shorter than ten minutes. For this episode of Read Me to Sleep, Ricky, your host Rick Whitaker reads his own selection and arrangement of Oscar Wilde's aphorisms including the entire "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young." The recording of Chopin Nocturnes is by Guiomar Novaes (1895 – 1979).

We recommend listening with auto-play OFF and the volume fairly low. So get into bed, close your eyes, and listen as you drift off to sleep. Don't bother arguing with Oscar. Though often preposterous, his style never flags. Even on his deathbed, as the story goes, in a cheap Paris hotel,  he managed to be funny: "Either this wallpaper goes, or I do."       
Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes (1895-1979) entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1909 at age 14 and instantly caught the attention of Debussy, who had been on her entrance jury. Even by that young age, she had already made fundamental decisions about musical interpretation. Her teacher at the Conservatoire, Isidor Philipp, found it difficult to persuade her to change her interpretations of things such as tempo once she had made up her mind. By 1910, she was already on the concert stage, performing in Paris, London, and on tour in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany and she was only 19 when she made her New York debut at Aeolian Hall. Her final appearance in New York was nearly 60 years later, with a concert in 1972.  She began with a large repertoire and gradually narrowed it, becoming most famous for her Chopin interpretations. 

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Read Me to Sleep, Ricky is hosted by Rick Whitaker and produced in New York City.


  • The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one has as yet discovered.
  • Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.
  • If the poor only had profiles there would be no difficulty in solving the problem of poverty.
  • Those who see any difference between soul and body have neither.
  • A really well-made buttonhole is the only link between Art and Nature.
  • Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.
  • The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.
  • Nothing that actually occurs is of the smallest importance.
  • Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.
  • In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.
  • If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.
  • Pleasure is the only thing one should live for. Nothing ages like happiness.
  • It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.
  • No crime is vulgar, but all vulgarity is crime. Vulgarity is the conduct of others.
  • Only the shallow know themselves.
  • Time is a waste of money.
  • One should always be a little improbable.
  • There is a fatality about all good resolutions. They are invariably made too soon.
  • The only way to atone for being occasionally a little over-dressed is by being always absolutely over-educated.
  • To be premature is to be perfect.
  • Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right and wrong in conduct shows an arrested intellectual development.
  • Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.
  • A truth ceases to be true when more than one person believes in it.
  • In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer.
  • Greek dress was in its essence inartistic. Nothing should reveal the body but the body.
  • One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
  • It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man's deeper nature is soon found out.
  • Industry is the root of all ugliness.
  • The ages live in history through their anachronisms.
  • It is only the gods who taste of death. Apollo has passed away, but Hyacinth, whom men say he slew, lives on. Nero and Narcissus are always with us.
  • The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything: the young know everything.
  • The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.
  • Only the great masters of style ever succeed in being obscure.
  • There is something tragic about the enormous number of young men there are in England at the present moment who start life with perfect profiles, and end by adopting some useful profession.
  • To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.