1. I'm running an exchange with jadelennox, called Lost Library (h/t to morbane who named it!) and which is for writing excerpts of works mentioned in canon, but never made. Think Averil's Atonement, that sort of thing. If you think that'd be up your alley, nominations are open! Here's the link: http://invisible-ficathon.dreamwidth.
2. I went to the symphony yesterday to hear Mussorgsky and it was really good! We sat near the double bass and there were like seven of them and oh boy, you can hear them good from there. I think they would make great backings for sepulchral sounds (though I think they form the backbone for most orchestral things.) I really like programmatic symphonies - where the music paints a picture - and this one was excellent. The music for the gate of Kiev is such a great way to end it! The one part I thought was weird was the one where the troubadour is serenading his beloved - some of that sounded downright creepy. There was also a Liszt concerto and I discovered that in fact I don't hate all concertos, I just really dislike Rachmaninoff. Liszt's concerto was extremely virtuostic (no surprise there!) and lively and the interaction with the symphony was really great - sometimes you get concertos where the orchestra really has to back off to let the piano play and so it's less satisfying. There was also Berlioz's Corsair, which was such a fun romp. At this point, where Berlioz goes, I'll follow...
The other thing that happened at the symphony is that a girl down a few seats fainted sometime during the piece. During the unofficial intermission so the piano could be brought out, her boyfriend (?) half-carried her out D:
I also went last week to see Verdi's Requiem which was in one word FABULOUS. It was incredibly operatic, actually, and the tenor especially did a lot of gesturing with both arms (although personally I wondered at his diction. Maybe it was because of my seat, which was almost over the orchestra on the balcony, so the sound was directed away, but a lot of his consonants were inaudible.) Also, for a requiem, it was very - irreverent? It ended with "Libera me"! Not even a single amen anywhere! The mezzo and soprano were really good, and the parts (in the sequence, I think) where they sang together they actually sounded good - sometimes you get weird friction when the vibrato interacts. And the dies irae was stunning. After its introduction at the beginning of the sequence, it was immediately recognizable when it popped up. Even without knowing it's a dies irae, you know it's heralding the apocalypse!
I wonder if there are musical settings of dies irae that preserve the meter of the poem? I guess that wouldn't leave much rhythmic freedom, but when you read it you can see how it would really bowl along. "Mors stupebit et natura/Cum resurget creatura,/Judicanti responsura." Something like the rhythmic speed of Carmina Burana.
3. I finally got over myself and re-read The Silver on the Tree (I re-read the other four much earlier, but I was putting off the last because it's the last! and then there would be no more!) and ahhhhhh. I'm not going to go into what I love about the book (I love everything, and you know the Mari Llywd is terrifying) but instead I am going to say that the part with John Rowlands ( SPOILERS )