When Russia got drunk, he tended to propose very grandiose and potentially dangerous ideas to the other Nations. Sometimes they managed to skip over the perilous aspect—though America really took off with that last one, and France hasn’t really recovered, and it’s generally agreed upon that the extinction of the dinosaurs has absolutely nothing to do with the Rite of Spring—but others, well.
On one notable occasion, when several Nations convened:
“Why don’t we all try to find out who has the best composers?”
The effect of this statement was instantaneous: all at once, several Nations beamed with pride at the musical achievements of their citizens. Northern and Southern Italy (whose house this party was transpiring at) grinned broadly at each other and chattered animatedly (Northern Italy nearly knocking over one of the nearby busts). “Monteverdi!” said Nothern, “Gabrieli!” said Southern— “Donizetti!” “Palestrina!” “Bellini!” “Vivaldi!” “Caccini!” “Weren’t there two Caccini?” “Verdi!” and so forth until it faded into background noise, with all the other Nations just glad that the Italia brothers could agree on something.
“Oh—Oh, Bartok! Definitely Bartok! Except maybe Ligeti or Liszt,” Hungary babbled equally excitedly, grabbing her ex-husband Austria’s arm. “Honey, did you know Liszt had HUGE HANDS just like yours? Honey?
Austria, unfortunately, was being held in a full Nelson.
“You—you have—Bach,—” Austria was gasping as Germany throttled him. “You don’t—need—Mozart and Beethoven are—mine—“
“And you were mine,” Germany said with eerie calm, tightening his grip.
The Czech Republic piped in, “Actually—”
Germany kicked the Czech Republic in the gut and pointedly hissed in Austria’s ear. “I want Wagner back.”
“You can have him—just—give me back—Beethoven—”
Germany’s response was cut off as Hungary brought a skillet down on his head. Germany promptly hit the floor with a wheezing thud that sounded a little too much like a twelve-tone row for anyone’s comfort. Austria gasped heavily, rubbing his throat—a truly futile thing, as Hungary was now clinging to him tightly enough to shove what breath he had out his bulging eye sockets.
“Dude,” Poland said, “like, Chopin.”
(People tended to ignore Poland.)
“Nothing compared to my Shostakovich,” Russia said over the groaning body of Germany. “Or my Scriabin, or my Korsakov. Even that upstart Prokofiev and that…that Stravinsky. No composers compare to Russia’s!” Around then the other Nations knew precisely why Russia had suggested this game in the first place.
“Mine are pretty consistently good, actually,” said France, but nobody cared.
“Purcell!” England shouted suddenly, pounding a fist into his own cupped palm. “Purcell! Everyone else is just a copycat. Even Handel.”
“But Handel isn’t yours,” Germany said, rubbing the welt on his head as he got to his feet. “Handel belongs to me.”
“He wrote my coronation masses.”
“He’s from me.”
“Nono!—no. No. Hey wait,” Northern Italy said, suddenly aware of the rest of the conversation. “Handel? He wrote for me! My voices!”
“This Handel guy got around,” said China.
“Handel was a mercenary,” Southern Italy corrected.
No one really felt like contradicting that.
“Purcell!” England shouted again with the same hand gesture.
Japan sighed politely. “Forgive me, but your standards of tonality are regimental and flawed.”
“No one asked you,” said Southern Italy.
England and Germany first glared at Southern Italy (Germany still rubbing his abused head), then looked humbly at the floor with ‘you may be on to something there’ expressions drifting conspiratorially across their faces. Northern Italy just coughed and repeated, “Nono.”
“So yeah,” America chimed in, “what’s a composer?”
…In the ensuing awkward, glowering silence that followed, Russia threw back another shot of vodka and Hungary’s skillet broke off the handle. The iron landed on the Czech Republic’s foot. It made a little undignified sound that went mostly unnoticed.
“They write music,” Germany explained.
“Like for movies and stuff?” America considered—“Oh! John Williams!”
Austria was very lucky that Germany had let go of his neck, because Germany would have snapped it about then.
“Let’s play a different game,” France insisted, making sure to slide into the path of Germany’s murderous glare. “What about ‘who has the best philosopher’? I’ll go first.”
Russia decided that he would leave this contest unresolved for now and file it as not as horrible a discussion as the one about the dinosaurs. (After all, when all those composers were one with Russia, it would not matter who they had written for previously.)
QWP, public entry
Context needs a little Tchaikovsky