I like to dine simply on these occasions, so I made myself a sandwich of peanut butter (crunchy, of course), Jarlsberg cheese and just a touch of Marmite. Pretty good - all I needed apart from this was a glass of water and I was happy enough. Switched on BBC Radio 3 and caught part of a concert given in Edinburgh by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Main item on the programme was to be Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, of which I've never been very fond, but we kicked off with Thea Musgrave's Turbulent Landscapes, which I really don't know at all. The theme of Ms Musgrave's suite is a musical interpretation of 6 paintings by the artist JMW Turner, and batting at No.4 was Turner's very quirky War: The Exile and the Rock Limpet, which I hadn't thought about in years. I have always found this picture very haunting, though I never quite knew what to make of it. You may write an essay on it for your homework - 1000 words will be fine. Perhaps you could bring out the implied contrast between imperial glory and the minutiae of Nature - or any other theme you like will be fine. You will have marks deducted if you mention the size of Napoleon's hat, by the way. Reference to the British guard will be OK, however.
Mention of marks deducted reminds me of a private joke which my late cousin Dave and I kept going for years. We lived through a period when it seemed that new works of art were judged by the weight of the justificatory text which accompanied them, rather than the work itself. We once attended a concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic at which the first item was a recently-commissioned orchestral piece about the coming of the Industrial Revolution to agricultural Britain (well, England, I guess). The composer himself gave an introductory talk lasting about a quarter of an hour, in which he described his interest in the subject, how (and why) he had been approached to compose the piece, and how he had attempted with contrasting tone colours and symmetrical harmonies to create an image of smoke and fire against a rural idyll. He then conducted the piece himself, and I swear it lasted about 4 minutes.
Dave and I were transfixed. We were about 17, and we immediately declared war on critics, radio announcers and all pseuds in general, and we invented a scoring system, which awarded "faults", rather in the style of equestrian show-jumping. The speaker/writer could collect single faults for the use of undergraduate gushiness such as "lambent" or "plangent" (etc), and there were also a few biggies for words or phrases we really disliked. A "clear round" was a rarity - a text or talk which contained no offending words at all.
Back to the present, the night of the peanut-butter sandwich. Tonight's announcer on the BBC (who was only reading a prepared script about the Musgrave piece, poor sod) scored 4 faults for "juxtaposition", which is always accompanied by a faint klaxon, but otherwise performed well enough. Dave died and dropped out of the game years ago, but I still keep my hand in with the scoring system when I get the chance. I have a few newbies since Dave's time - "Zeitgeist" gets 8 faults - which is a double-refusal or something - and I have a few others.
This all smacks a little of inverted snobbery, which is never attractive, but it really just reflects a long-held prejudice against the posturing bourgeoisie - though it occurs to me that it may reveal me as the biggest pseud of the lot!
**** Late Edit ****
Because the comments got me interested again, I thought I'd put a link to the relevant Part IV of Thea Musgrave's suite, as discussed.
Now here's an interesting idea: after you've heard the music, you could go and paint a picture giving your idea of what it portrays. Then someone could write another new piece of music interpreting your new picture, and so on, for ever. Great, eh? Like the most pretentious game of Chinese Whispers in history. If we produce a variation on the showjumping analogy, the limp little quote from La Marseillaise must be worth 8 faults on its own? And, just in case you missed it (because you were asleep?), there is a reprise at the end, which is no more inspiring and must be worth a further 8 - no VAR allowed.