In a 1904 review of a piece by Maurice Ravel, one critic used the phrase Chinese theater
Two years later, a critic in the New York Tribune wrote, "In his String Quartet M. Ravel is content with one theme which has the emotional potency of one of those tunes which the curious may hear in a Chinese theater, shrieked out by an ear-splitting clarinet. This theme serves him for four movements during which there is about as much emotional nuance as warms a problem in algebra. It is a drastic dose of wormwood and assafoetida." (Wormwood is a very bitter tasting herb used in making absinthe; assafoetida, a foul smelling and tasting gum resin used as an antispasmodic, as well as a repellent against dogs, cats and rabbits).