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A mnemonic for the notes E G B D F that occupy the stave lines of music. Other forms of the mnemonic are Every good boy deserves fruit, and Every good boy does fine (see that node for the best explanation). The notes on the white spaces between are easily remembered as F A C E.

A play by Tom Stoppard and André Previn. It is subtitled "A Play for Actors and Orchestra", and is notable for the fact that it does indeed contain a full-size symphony orchestra. Previn commissioned it from Stoppard by asking him for a text for which he would do music.

Stoppard began with no idea what to write about, but since his only experience of real music was as a triangle player in kindergarten, he decided the main character could be an amateur triangle player. At first starring a millionaire triangle player who owned an orchestra to play it in, then a lunatic who merely imagined his orchestra, the idea languished until he read about dissidents in the Soviet Union who were confined to mental asylums for uttering various subversive and insane thoughts, such as, for example, the claim that dissidents in the Soviet Union were confined to mental asylums for... a typically Stoppardian Catch-22.

So the play is set in a Soviet psychiatric hospital or prison (the distinction is disputed in the course of the play), with a political dissenter called Alexander Ivanov sharing a cell with a triangle-playing lunatic called Alexander Ivanov. The doctor, who in fact plays violin in a real orchestra while he's trying to convince Ivanov that there is no orchestra, explains to Alexander repeatedly that he isn't in a cell, he's in a ward, because prisons have cells whereas hospitals have wards, and one of the things he's going to have to agree to if he wants to be released is that he's insane and therefore rightly confined to a mental hospital.

This has the beauty of being typical Stoppard surrealist madness, and at the same time a very realistic condemnation of the Soviet systematic abuse of psychiatry. It's all based on real people and reports.

The doctor uses Alexander's son Sacha to try to persuade him to submit and seek his freedom on the establishment's terms. ("He's a good boy. He deserves a father.")

It was first performed at the Festival Hall in July 1977, starring Ian McKellen, John Wood, Patrick Stewart, and the London Symphony Orchestra under Previn.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is an album by The Moody Blues released in 1971.

Track Listing:

1. Procession (4'40")
2. The Story in Your Eyes (2'56")
3. Our Guessing Game (3'34")
4. Emily's Song (3'42")
5. After You Came (4'36")
6. One More Time to Live (5'41")
7. Nice to Be Here (4'23")
8. You Can Never Go Home (4'14")
9. My Song (6'19")

The first track, Procession, is very surreal. It opens the album with a descending sound effect that I can't put into words. Then the band shouts, "Desolation!" amidst the sound of wind. A thunderstorm begins, and they follow up with "Creation!", suggesting a Graham Greene-esque theme of beginning from nothing that is repeated elsewhere in the album. It then segues into a tribal drum beat with chanting and more -tion words said by the band. Then there's some flute and harpsichord music, followed by some organs, synth, and heavy guitars.

Certainly, the Moody Blues often include spoken word and surreal synth in their albums, particularly at the beginning, but this one is like no other I've heard before. It's an amazing opening. The rest of the album continues in the mostly familiar, wonderful, and unique style of the Moody Blues, which means plenty of synth and strings, and extremely generous use of beautiful vocal harmonies.

I'd definitely recommend this album to anyone who has heard and enjoyed anything by this band.

As an interesting side note, in the digital remaster that I have (remastered in 1997), the cover sleeve booklet thing features an interview with the band. Both John Lodge and the mysterious interviewer John Reed (in italics) claim that the album is titled after the mnemonic device for the tuning of a guitar, EGBDF. The funny thing is that guitars actually have six strings, and the tuning is EBGDAE. The only mnemonic device for guitar tuning I've heard is Every Bad Girl Does Anal Eventually. EGBDF is really the lines on a treble clef music staff.

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