THE OTHER night at the Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic played Mahler's Fourth, but Michael Steinberg's programme note nagged. He said of the Fourth's early reception: "The very qualities that Mahler had banked on were the ones that annoyed. The bells, real and imitated (in flutes), with which the music begins! And that chawbacon tune in the violins!"
Chaw, an apparent melding of jaw and chew, dates from the 16th century; its further linking, with bacon, came at the start of the 19th, to mean a bumpkin (no beef for them); meanwhile, bacon alone meant as much all along, as in Falstaff's cry, "On, bacons, on!"
As for Mahler, check out Uri Caine's recent disc of diverse jazz versions: no chawbacon, he.