silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Help, what does it mean when you love clearly vocaloid renditions of songs? Like I have always loved the melody but I think since the voice rendering software doesn't have to take a breath, obviously the breath support is perfect, even if the pronunciation is really weird:

(more seriously it doesn't mean anything, music isn't a contest of what's the hardest thing to produce etc etc etc whatever)


Oct. 9th, 2016 12:14 am
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
Well, I haven't posted for awhile and this time I have a legitimate reason - my computer crashed really badly and I have just agreed to pay a horrible sum of money to have it fixed. (A comparable new one would be three or four times more expensive D:) It auto updated to the anniversary edition of Windows 10. I don't regret updating to 10 - security, far more efficient space use - I think it was just really bad luck. I've never actually had a hard drive crash on me before.

Also the timing was rather bad -it was RuneScape's double xp weekend! I played only a little on the Saturday evening. Figures, hmph.

I read some O R Melling (don't remember it being so YA but I was actually in that age bracket then), finally Heidi again, though my friend has left Switzerland and is doing a thing in London, and am reading The Secret Country by Pamela Dean. Pretty good but the general bickering, constant simmering of unhappiness of like all the children is preventing me from simply eating it up. I also read The Gilded Age, wick is about Anita Hemmings, the first African-American woman to go to Vassar, and she did it by passing for white. I enjoyed it a lot (maybe I should read more boarding school stories), but I also feel like Anita was never angry. Kind of like how I feel I was sooo angry at her treatment compared to Fanny's own feelings in Mansfield Park.

Carmen at the opera - omg. I enjoyed it a lot, A+ would attend again. Sadly another modern a young person who has not seen a ton of opera, I wish I could see more with original settings. This one was very gritty and the stage very minimalistic. I also was slightly disappointed with the habenera, which should really ooze sex appeal; it was all just sorta restrained. And it's not like the rest of the opera was restrained, which was weird. Maybe the Carmen just wanted a very different interpretation? Also, there was a lot of male nudity for a change! In addition to all the female nudity, more forgivable in this opera... It opened with a man in only his underwear running endless laps around the stage - at least thirty or forty, as punishment I think. The other characters just acted like he wasn't even there. Escamillo was amazing and wore the brightest yellow suit imaginable, and pulled it off. The children had clearly been told to sing at the tops of their lungs for Avec la garde montante and were pretty adorable.

I've also been doing a lot of Ingress and letterboxing. There's a very active ingress group locally and I made level 8 a bit ago, which isn't the highest level but the one where you get access to the best gear available. I like the urban exploration thing a lot (thus also letterboxing).

I did calligraphy with my log and decided to look at all my nibs:



I use all them except the Hunt globe and 102 and the speedball b nibs. OK, the 102 I use for touch up because the top is so fine it catches on everything and then ink splatter, the globe is inflexible and gives me no line variation, and the b ditto - the b all give really thick lines too and no line thickness variation. I used the c-2 for the cover page. I'm not sure I can even write consistently with the c-0, which is even broader - you need so much ink on it you practically have to redip after every stroke. And the line gets thinner as you go down!

I also carved my own stamp! I bought a few cheap pink erasers, scoured the internet for inspiration and guides, and used an exacto knife. Worked out pretty well but I'm not so good at stamping while outside without a table! It's been fairly addicting. I found 3 stamps today (failed to find 2) and really want to go tomorrow too. I have an ingress farm to go to tomorrow morning (almost completely cleaned out of gear - been destroying enemy portals a lot. Lots of fun. What's building compared to getting to smash my nemesis's portal?) But afterwards, more stamp collecting.

Fall is coming in slowly and I want the weather to hold so we get a nice pretty leaf show.
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
macro shot of my music, titled 'FELIX MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY - Lobgesang - Hymn of Praise, op. 52, Symphony Cantata' and orchestration written in German - Soli SST, Chorale SSAATB, 2 flutes 2 oboes etc

Had a concert Saturday, performing Mendelssohn's Lobgesang. We were paired with another choir (larger than us), and an excellent symphony orchestra. Altogether I would guess there were at least two hundred people on stage - rather cozy and quite warm on stage, but the sound was absolutely tremendous and tremendously exciting to sing in. And Mendelssohn is a very rewarding sort of composer to sing in large choruses with, especially in a piece like this: a "hymn of praise", written to commemorate the western invention of printing - I think on one of the major anniversaries of it?

We were conducted by the conductor of the symphony orchestra (the choirs share a conductor, so there were just two conductors running around). The conductor was sort of funny and acerbic with it, the kind that really tries to get a lot out of you. I'm not sure what he's like when it's all being put together, but he kept exhorting us to get out of the music and watch the conductor. (One of the most common refrains of conductors I've known).

The parts got a bit jogged around by our choral conductor. He asked the alto 2s to help the tenors when they had to sing by themselves to open a movement, and in some parts asked the entire soprano section to sing alto to lend more power to the middle section - this, at least, is very rare. The last movement in rehearsal we basically didn't have a soprano line; those were being worked on by the other choir, who would cover for us there.

I like this rendition on youtube. There are more if you search "Mendelssohn Lobgesang" though I only have timestamps for this particular one.

Lots and lots of talk about the piece, including time-stamps for specific parts )
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
Now reading Magicians of Caprona and finally getting into it. It always takes me a bit to get used to new characters - I hate it when sequels/series have new protagonists!

I have listened to this version of The Water is Wide a lot (a lot.) You know, when you suddenly listen to a song and then you must play it over and over and over again? For days? I love it so much. All of their voices and interpretations, but especially, I think, the middle singer. The lyrics probably help. And then the trio all together. I am undone.

It is almost impossible to find anything about the singers online; I can't tell if I'm finding the same people, and also I want to know if they did another collaboration.
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So a few things:

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:

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 )
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I saw Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung (a double-bill opera) last last week. This was going to be my catch-up post, but I think just talking about the operas is going to be quite long. I also saw Age of Ultron two weeks ago and still haven't written about it.

Bluebeard's Castle )

After the intermission I saw Erwartung, which is by Schoenberg.

Now Erwartung )

Tonally, in subject and focus and everything, they were a complete 180 from the Barber of Seville, which I watched just a few weeks before that, which I loved to pieces. Of course, since I had two tickets for each opera, I managed to take the friend who likes Wagner to Barber of Seville, and the newbie to opera to Bluebeard's Castle/Erwartung *facepalm*
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
There are lots of amazing things in life, and one is being alone listening to music you chairdance to. :D
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
My phone has an FM radio app! I did not know that phones had built-in radio capabilities. I even have a native radio app. It is slightly irritating to be loaded with so many apps that are unremovable (some stuff I would seriously like to remove, cough five hundred iterations of google this or that, lifelog) but sometimes it is useful. Haven't had a radio since my old alarm clock radio broke years ago. Apparently you just plug in earphones and the cord acts as the receiver.

It means you don't get to choose your music (obviously) but it's good because then you don't get stuck in a rut of playing the same track over and over again. Or rather, I do. If I like a song, I will play it on repeat for as long as I don't get sick of it.

Like! Necessary Evil by Nikki Yanofsky was on! I liked Yanofsky--she sang for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games (it's on youtube "I believe" by Nikki Yanofsky | equally amazing French version, "J'imagine" by Anne Villeneuve)--but I haven't followed her since. So that was nice! And I can tune into the classical station, instead of discovering music as I currently do, which is go to the symphony at random when I see a work I'm already fairly sure I will like (no Rachmanioff) which doesn't mean much broadening of musical horizons.


On a second musical note, the choir is doing Fauré's Requiem and a selection of Tudor anthems. Fauré's requiem is beautiful and lovely. The altos almost never get to sing! I want to defect to either the soprano or the tenors. The section solos are beautiful, but we practically get a role like "we need one more voice for the seventh in this chord, I wonder which voice we haven't used yet, oh yes let's use the altos!" Fauré, please include us in more than simply the last three measures of any given movement.

I exaggerate. There is one movement where we get a soloish part with the tenors, if I'm remembering correctly. But a lot of it does consist of standing and listening to others sing.

The Tudor anthems I love-hate. Uh. They're really tricky! But they will be really cool if we get them together, and they really take a lot of work (AND we get to sing, hooray). We're doing a few by Weelkes (O Lord, arise), Byrd (Justorum animae, Sing Joyfully), Tallis (If ye love me) and I think the Parson Ave Maria. Anyway, they're difficult because they're firstly heavily split; there's divisi in almost all the parts, all the time, so everyone's working under half the usual support. Especially when the weather is really bad and about 40% of the choir doesn't show up. They're all very very polyphonic too (style of music with voices singing different, independent melody lines instead of supporting one single melody). And oh my god, the word placement. Some of the anthems are in English, like Sing Joyfully. But the word placement is so weird. Normally, words that are more important--nouns, verbs, names, significant ideas--are given more emphasis: through pitch, volume, writing them with different harmony, etc. But often it can be done through simply giving them longer time. "The", "a", "of" often are quick notes because they're usually not very important. But in the anthems some of the words are set extremely oddly. We'll sing "of" for three beats and then "strength", an actually important word, for one only, which then ends the phrase. Not only is the rhythm odd for the ending of a phrase, but the length of time spent on each word is oddly disproportionate. Why would you spend so much time on "of"?

Some of the weird stuff I think is actually an effect of English having changed in the intervening half millenium. Like in the Weelkes, there's a part where it goes "and bless thine inheritance" but written like this:

musical excerpt with alto melody line and words

(I'm getting better at typesetting in musescore! It occurs to me now that I'm done, though, that I could have take a picture of my score with my phone, downloaded a pdf online of the music and took a screenshot...which would have been faster, but OH WELL.)

Basically, it sounds like "and bless thine inhe-riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-tance". Which is a) a long time for one syllable in the middle of a word and b) a very strange place to put the stress. Inheritance is accented on the second syllable, "he". I wonder if in Weelkes' English the stress was on "ri" instead.

I don't have this problem in Latin texts because I have no idea what syllables have stress, whether Latin even has stress-related minimal pairs (I'm sure that is the wrong word, but like the verb/noun difference between "to reject" vs "a reject") and I can just happily go along singing syllable by syllable. (I know that's bad. But it was the only way to get through Bach's motet, which was actually in German, but completely opaque re: syallabification as Latin to me, and which involved singing one syllable on the most endless melisma. Horrible. You forgot what word you were singing by the time you got to the next syllable.)

Also in the Tallis, the line goes "if ye love me [...] I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter" which I know he means something else but I mentally translate that to a blanket every time and want to laugh.

I was going to do a post about Agent Carter but I spent too long on this part, and have already accidentally clicked "POST" because the updated beta Create Entries on DW is really messing with my muscle memory, so I'll leave it at that this time.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Just got back from Die Walkure. It's past midnight, it was so long and my mind has been blown. Oh my god it was amazing. I have so many thoughts and I need to sleep because tomorrow is an early day but I am so fjiwoehdsfv about everything.


(but we were totally cheated of the Ride!! agh and the sword theme is gonna haunt my dreams, it was everywhere)
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
I went to the symphony to hear Dvořák's 9th symphony (his New World one) last night.

It was honestly blow-your-mind good. Oh my god. It was really, really, really good. Words fail me. I've never gone to a bad symphony because they're really good, but some concerts are just good1 and then you have the kind where you float home on the subway. Or at least I do. I texted one of my friends on the way back to tell her she had to go see it if she could get tickets (there's one more concert.)

I was not familiar with the first movement but you can hear the theme of the Largo in it, actually. And for once I could actually follow the themes, to some extent. I studied music history and a lot of famous pieces and so of course you end up learning about stuff like sonata form (exposition--development--recapitulation) but for all the theoretical bits, I have never been very good at actually listening for the themes and hearing them get developed. All the music just goes by me like a big river of sound.

The Largo was amaaaaazing and we went from the third movement right to the fourth which startled me (I wasn't watching and thought maybe the conductor fell off his podium for a minute, there was such a crash of sound.) Or at least, I assume that's where the movement ended. I never did study this symphony. But the second and third movements were like musical catharsis. I love that theme so, so much. Oh my god. It's like hope and discovery and everything wonderful all mixed up together in sound. I've listened the later movements before, but hearing them in person was beyond everything.

It was just exquisite and almost silent, and then huge and all-encompassing other times. And sweet. The conductor was lots of fun to watch (he jumped!) and just really good at coaxing out that kind of contrast. There was also like six double basses and I could really hear them supporting the whole thing. The brass sounded like they were having fun; when they go off they can drown out the strings almost entirely.

Before intermission and the symphony they also had Oscar Morawetz's Carnival Overture which was tons of fun (this is a composer I need to hear more of) and Sibelius' violin concerto.

But the New World symphony, it was the highlight. It completely made my week.


1 Like I went to one a few weeks ago (Beethoven's 9th! Huge choir for the last movement) and confirmed that despite the amazing pianist soloist, I'm not a fan of Rachmanioff. I don't know what it was. Not the first time I've listened to him and I feel nothing except hope it'll be over soon and onto something more exciting.
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
I went to see Mahler's 9th Symphony yesterday and I still have mixed feelings about it. I went with M, who sings with me in the choir. She loves Mahler, so it was perfect.

Symphony 9 is all about death. He had lost his daughter Maria a few years before, and it's just perfectly on point in so many ways. It's programmatic, I suppose--it tries to depict a storyline/emotion through music. And there are parts where the music is frenzied and furious, and other parts yearning: apply your the X stages of grief and thoughts about death here. It's not atonal, it hangs onto some semblance of harmony, but it's very dissonant sometimes. And there is no resolution ever, except at the very end of the entire symphony. The whole orchestra--and it was a huge orchestra, there must have been a hundred players, there were seven double-bass players (!!), an uncountable army of violins and violas--would sometimes start rushing into a huge loud frenzied passage, and then the cymbals would crash from the back and that was it, there was never any resolution. Tease the fifth, and never go back to the tonic. It was really hard to tell when movements ended, because of this; even near-silence occurred in the middle of movements.

The second movement was my favourite; it was a parody of several dance forms. It started out good-natured, soured, and after another crazy build-up of sound the orchestra went quiet, and then back into the genial original form.

The final movement is Adagio (slow), and is considerably less dissonant. It's the 'peace at the end of the struggle', I suppose. Mahler's a rather morbid composer; he quoted at the end a passage from his older piece Kindertotenlieder (ie songs about dead children, what on earth) about sunlight on the hill (where it's implied basically where his daughter Maria was resting, sjdkljf).

The problems I had with it was mostly repetition. Oh god, Mahler, we get it. We got it the first time, and the second time, and the third and the fourth and fifth and sixth time. When the resolution finally came, he repeated it again and again and again. It was an 8pm concert and both M and I had worked a full shift that day, so I was nodding off in the first movement and in the midst of the clapping after the first movement M said she was falling asleep too. The fourth movement just dragged on; the strings were excellent but it was slow and just went on and on. I like the theme of peace at last, but peace is not very interesting when it's extended like that.

Other thoughts about the concert: someone should write a symphony where the only point of the movements is so that the audience has a break to cough. There was no intermission (two hour concert) so after the first movement there was a huge outbreak of coughing and hacking. Also, someone decided to unwrap a lozenge or candy right in a quiet part. Good job. Seriously, do that sometime else, you can control that. Also the Adagio happened, and someone had an extended coughing fit which they obviously tried to muffle, and I realize that it's involuntary and they can't help it, but the Adagio is so quiet and meant to be peaceful and is sometimes literally only a violin and a viola playing and therefore very quiet and ARGH! Also, there was a part where the strings did not move together and the thought that crossed my mind was "look at the conductor!" and yes, I have been in choirs for way too long.

If I could, I would ban all applause ever after performances. I hate curtain calls, I hate applauding for minutes at a time, I hate being a performer getting applause for so long. And after a movement like that Adagio, which is so quiet, so slow, so peaceful, the applause breaks in and completely shatters the peace.
silverflight8: watercolour wash with white paper stars (stars in the sky)
SO to start with The Creation (Die Schöpfung): it is currently my favourite.

I really like Haydn in the first place. I played some of his sonatas (I also really like sonatas, though it took me awhile to warm up to them--I liked the drama of Romantic composers when I was younger) and I'd studied parts of The Creation as part of music history. And of course there are some really famous pieces by him it's hard to miss--the Surprise symphony!

Hadyn makes me smile because he's totally playing tricks on the audience and the performers, laughing a little bit behind the scenes. In many ways, the music is quite symmetrical and classical. There are a lot of choral entries which feature each voice part singing the same melody, just one measure offset; he repeats measures in the classical structure; his sonatas follow the usual introduction-development-recapitulation; his melodies and harmonies are very tonal. But he loves springing little surprises onto you. Just as you think you have learned the part and that it will repeat for a second phrase, it suddenly isn't the same; it's been subtly tweaked just enough to produce a different sound. That part you thought would repeat four times is actually two repeats and three variations, joke's on you, sight-reader! (If you're not sure which one is the Surprise symphony, it's the one that starts out very quiet and then has the orchestra blast a shock chord to wake you up. It's so great. A+ would recommend.)

about The Creation and word painting )

My favourite parts are of course the choral ones, because I'm most familiar with them. I think if I tried to write about all 34 movements (of which we omitted a few), this would be way too long, and in fact it's already very long. I have included the music in youtube videos--there are three vids, and I didn't want to embed each all over the place so I've just provided start times for the pieces.

First Movement )

Second Movement )

We broke for intermission at this point, mostly for the benefit of the conductor and the orchestra; the choir got to sit (thank you) and really only did commentary. We weren't entirely holding up the show, this time!

Third Movement )

tl;dr: I was really excited to sing the Creation when I found out in September, and now that I have, I love the whole piece like burning. LOVE.
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
I got the 2048 tile!

screenshot )

It's because for the first time ever, the bottom row where I keep all the higher numbers did not get clogged up. It's really nicely organized. another screenshot )

Whew. Fortunately this is not the sort of game where I start playing and look up 2 hours later--I play one, lose, and am able to go back to doing what I was doing before. But hopefully this means I can stop playing it.

I am currently at the point with The Creation where I love it to pieces. The concert went well, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head for awhile now. It is such a great oratorio, I love it. I found a really good recording on youtube, and I'll write up a big entry about it. But for the moment it's basically what I've got on nearly all the time. There are some parts which are not as exciting (the part in the third movement when Adam and Eve are singing about something, zzz) but the part where they sing in duet with the choir make up for it--the orchestra is so sprightly and the baritone, in particular, gets such a fun part.

I think I have finally listened to "I was a fool" enough times that I have been able to stop listening. Instead I have fallen in love with Simon Keenlyside as Papageno, embarrassingly enough, but he is amazing in the role:
youtube embed under cut ) It's the 2003 BBC version with Diane Damrau as the Queen of the Night and Will Hartmann as Tamino. And speaking of Damrau she is amazing as the Queen of the Night asdjkflj.
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
I've talked about choir a couple times already, but I haven't really talked about the music yet, which is because it usually takes me about 2,000 words every time. Here goes!

This season was the French composers concert: Duruflé, Fauré, Poulenc, and Gounod.

Includes youtube clips under the cut )

1 Around 1:44 in the third clip.
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So as the last entry may have suggested, I went to the symphony to hear Orff's Carmina Burana, and it was amazing.

It's a cantata scored for choirs, small orchestra, and tenor, baritone, and soprano. Orff used medieval songs/poetry from Beuern (Latinized to Burana) as his libretto, most of which were written in Latin but also Middle High German. He grouped them into several categories: drinking songs, love songs, songs about spring, all centered on a theme about Fortune. And then he set them to music.

You are probably familiar with the very first poem. It's O Fortuna and it's a very, very famous piece, often scored for epic scenes in pop culture. Here is a slowish Youtube recording. I really, really encourage you to listen to it, because I'm sure you know the first few seconds:

There was a hundred-plus choir singing this alongside a children's chorus, in what had to be like ffffffff dynamic phrasing. It was also a lot faster and had some incredibly clipped, marcato enuciation, so the impact can hardly be imagined in the concert hall. This is music to bowl you over completely!

The rest of Carmina Burana, and a quick note about the contrasting pieces preceding (including translated & original lyrics, even!) )


Nov. 2nd, 2013 12:41 am
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Went to hear Carmina Burana. My mind has been blown.
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I have links about Star Wars! Here is an article on why The Phantom Menace is needed:

I never understood the theory that midichlorians=the Force. The movie implies they are an indicator, not an agent that causes the possessor to have the Force.

But what better reason for TPM than we get to see Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan go on an adventure? On a gorgeous planet like Naboo, no less? The older I get, the more I cringe (I always fastforward through any Padmé and Anakin scene) but I liked the adventuring very much.

And a ridiculously cute comic about Leia and Darth Vader:


Choir! CHOIR omg omg omg. I found out our program. Do you know what we're singing this season??

Haydn's The Creation.


The Creation (actually, technically, Die Schöpfung) is an oratorio about...the creation of everything, with a libretto set to mostly Biblical text. This is one of the works I learned about in music history. A snippet of the chorus' singing was included on the anthology's CD track ("The heavens are telling", plus a chunk of the recitatives before it), and I loved it. It seriously boggles my mind that I'm singing what was on our curriculum; it is a big work, and famous, and I always thought of it as too difficult to really do--not just me personally, but the choir has to be skilled enough too.

To put the icing on the cake--the trills in the aria? the cadenza on the ending?--we're singing with an orchestra! Our conductor also conducts an orchestra, so we're teaming up, and it's going to be such a cool sound.

The only drawback is the German. I can...kind of deal with Latin now, but I'm pretty sure one of the reasons Lobet den Herrn was so horribly difficult was trying to deal with German on top of Bach's madness. (I have such conflicting feelings about that man. For now, I don't want to do any of his stuff, piano or vocal.)


I tried to type about piano, but...I don't think it's actually very interesting. In the heat of the moment I think about all sorts of things (usually thoughts that go "third finger there! move under now! THREE TRILLS INCOMING! be quieter! be louder!) Except I don't really think about fingering in terms of words, just feeling--you know how the thumb goes under? Words are longhand. If I try to think about something else, or about my playing on a meta level, my playing deteriorates. This is especially obvious any time I'm sightreading.

Instead, please try Marina and the Diamonds! Her voice is so distinctive and powerful.

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It's been raining all day, I just finished Guns of Avalon which ended on a cliffhanger (also WAT), and this is the most obtuse, un-illuminating article I've ever had the dubious pleasure of reading: More is More and The Art of Perfection – Master Piano Technician Peter Salisbury Turns a Steinway Into Two, an article from Piano News, which I'm still inexplicably subscribed to. I believe the pertinent points--indeed, all the points--can be summarized as follows: "I'm not going to tell you anything substantive or explain the article's title because I am a professional (way better than youuuuu!) and know better." Honestly, what on earth is "an action"?

I mean, is it me? It can't just be me. Flist, validate me!


I think I've gotten over my temporary insanity of the last few weeks when I only craved really loud heavy music (this is a technical term) which led to mainlining Top 40 hits like Taio Cruz's songs and Macklemore and Lady Gaga's back catalogue and ANYWAY the exciting news is twofold:

a) I've come round to Choir #2's pieces and

Number a) is not exactly all that flattering. I was tired and grumpy when a lot of them were introduced (sleep is most definitely correlated to mood, and it's alarming) but I do actually like the stuff we're doing now! There's a lot of folk songs (e.g. "To Cecila", [drink to me only with thine eyes, and I will pledge with mine--the Ben Jonson poem], "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening", which is a TTBB piece so the altos get to do the tenor bits! Low but wonderfully expressive). And also Queen's "Somebody to Love". I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like some of Queen's stuff, but this one isn't really clicking for me. On the other hand, we got to hear the conductor sing it, and it was fantastic. You know, my conductor is a classically-trained tenor soloist, who I would seriously pay money to hear in concert (asdfjkl;). But he always is ready to belt the weirdest things (including the sopranos' lines in their octave), so the choir got to hear his rendition of Mercury's solo lines. And scat singing, too, when we were doing "In the Mood", which you should listen to because it is swingy and everything fun about big band music. Here is the original instrumental version by Glenn Miller:

According to the list of music we're doing, we're doing Loch Lomond, which is also one of my favourite songs (out of a very long list, I suck at making favourites) and I. can't. wait.

The second bullet point is more personal but I FOUND A PIANO TO PRACTICE ON. Five actually. More specifically I found a 'music club' that will allow me to practice. I am over the moon about this. I also have a big spreadsheet thing to track technique. What I've learned: E-flat minor arpeggios are STILL OF THE DEVIL. It is the worst ever.

snip of spreadsheet under cut )

Possibly the spreadsheet is a wee optimistic. I think my wrists would kill me if I tried to do all the major and minor scales in octaves, but I can always hope!
silverflight8: Different shades of blue flowing on a white background like waves (Fractal)
It knocked my socks off. YESSSSSS.

Despite its fame (I mean, it's Mozart's Requiem!) I've never heard it before. I knew the apocryphal stories and about Süssmeyer, but I've never listened to it on tape or concert.

It was fantastic. As usual, I only enjoyed the soloists sort of (the tenor was great, the mezzo-soprano was excellent, soprano was meh, the bass sounded like rocks being shook; I am not a fan of vibrato generally) but it was the choir - the whole reason why I have the subscription - that made the whole concert.

Having never heard it, I didn't expect just how energetic the requiem was. The Introit (first section) was an explosion of sound. We'd started the concert off with a few motets and fugues - the former by the choir, the latter by the strings-only orchestra - which were mostly incredibly dreary. Fugues tend to be complex by nature, whether by JS Bach or not. As for the motets: one of motets was Carl Emmanuel Bach's, which had a text that enumerated the three stages of life and described them all as weeping and terrible. In fact, it literally started off with 'it begins with tears'. Then it went on to describe middle age and old age as vales of tears too!

The Introit of the Requiem, on the other hand, was just power - and I've always loved epic pieces. Even the kyrie - kyrie eleison, Christe eleison (Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy) - even the kyrie movement was blasts of power instead of pleading, almost a demand for mercy. I really hadn't expected that at all; look at the source text! But it was pretty awesome, not going to lie; the choir had a full-bodied and rich sound, really everything a choir should be, and with the layered setting of the kyrie it was a great kick of energy. Wikipedia tells me it's a double fugue with each statement a motif - that explains the depth of sound! All that polyphony... I got a bit lost during the Sequentia, especially since the soloists sang and I couldn't tell what they were saying. I got back on track when the choir sang REX three times, in ff dynamics, though (the line was rex tremendae majestatis.)

THIS concert more than justifies my subscription. (My three-concert subscription, that is. These concerts are expensive, even with the cheapest seats and student rates: I think the full subscription to all 10 concerts runs from $150-$750 before taxes *winces*) The first concert I went to was a bit disappointing - not bad, just nothing special - it was a French Baroque composer whose name absolutely escapes me right now (I think it had a Baptiste in there somewhere - maybe it was Lully?? I have to say that I'm not really a fan of the Baroque period. Give me Renaissance, Classical, Romantic music any day!) Also I did not almost fall asleep during the concert like I did last time so that was a big plus.

Undecided on subscribing to 2013/14 season. I might go for the symphony orchestra instead (these guys are a Baroque choir & orchestra.)
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I've listened to it about three times over the last week, and my opinion keeps changing. At first it was "we sound terrible!" but I generally get more fond of music. The more I hear it the more I like it (this is subject to a certain limit, I mean, and now I want to draw a graph.)

First, something is definitely up with "Zadok the Priest"; I'm not sure why there is so much alto? Perhaps it's where the microphone thingy was placed. It's strange, because the other pieces don't seem to have the same problem. We went a bit slow, I thought, and weren't as crisp on the 'rejoices' as we could have been. The first part was still epic as in memory.

Definitely had some confusion there on "Sicut cervus". Everyone's moving appropriately, and adding expression! Just not together.

I am very, very pleased at one piece though. "Exsultate Deo" was the one where I was afraid that I could hear my own voice (HORRORS) but the sopranos scale up (literally) to 'blowing out speakers high' so fast that the alto 1s are barely audible. YES. EXCELLENT.

I stand by my assertion that we have an amazing pianist, because AMAZING. I want to be her.


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