silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
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!) )


Oct. 3rd, 2013 09:32 pm
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
warning: mealworms & rice. I had to spread the pain. )

I'm sorry to anyone on my flist who I recently friended. I swear my entries are usually much more palatable but I have to tell someone. The whole world.
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I decided that it was time to start on Heinlein (on whim) while in the library which has lots of sf. The only problem is that Heinlein has written a lot of stuff, so I went to ask the librarian sitting at the desk.

He didn't even know who Heinlein was! (GASP) But then he gave me the funniest look and said: "But you know who would know?" and I said--realizing suddenly and cutting him off rather rudely--"The librarians upstairs?" (The speculative fiction collection is upstairs.) He nodded. I don't think he's got a very good opinion of sf/f, or maybe of the librarians upstairs. But it was really funny. His expression was priceless. Maybe he was just chagrined that he didn't know who Heinlein was, when I'd worded the question like he ought to know.

So I got recs (I asked the librarian and she said: "That would be Robert Ansolm Heinlein, right?" straight off) and finished Door into Summer a couple days ago. I enjoyed it hugely. It wasn't just good, it was fun. The only part that I didn't like was the part with Ricky, because it was wayyyyy too close to grooming for me. I love Dan (the protagonist). He's a mechanical engineer and a rather brilliant inventor, and he's also pretty optimistic and funny, and Heinlein's sideways descriptions of certain things (er, like the women that Dan likes) were amusing. It also had time-travel into 2000. Some of the things were obviously not true (we still have colds, ugh, I have a sore throat right now.) But there are some things that Dan was trying to invent by 2000 that we've already got--like dictation software. Dictation software is so common that it's actually packaged into Windows 7 operating systems! But also, we're still using zippers.

I'm also pleased that I managed to track down one of the allusions from Among Others ("you have to be prepared to abandon your baggage").


Sep. 28th, 2012 03:27 pm
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I guess I should talk about the concert, since yesterday I didn't get round to it (I had to dissect the post-concert fallout first).

At any rate, it was performed the symphony orchestra in conjunction with a guest pianist, playing Rachmanioff's second concerto as the main concert draw. First, though, we heard a symphony piece by a Canadian composer, who apparently took lyrics from the east coast's reels and dances. It was a very, very dissonant piece. She (the composer) said that in some chords "[she used] all twelve tones" of the nice things about concerts is the visual, and seeing all the violinists playing one chord (lots of staccato) and then just pausing, in perfect synchronicity but sounding the most dissonant note, was definitely a contrast.

Ah, I think Rachmanioff is not my thing, because while the pianist was brilliant, his concerto is so - so - volatile. It went from one extreme to the other (actually that was one of the things I liked especially about the pianist - she made the transitions between so quiet it was almost no sound, to a full-bodied sound rivalling the orchestra, and did so beautifully). It just felt very unstable, though both symphony and piano were marvellous and pulled off the drama.

Intermission. Then after was the Pictures at the Exhibition, which is personally one of my favourite pieces - it's such a programmatic piece, and the brass section gets to shine, which is fun. Also it is unabashedly dramatic near the end - it kept pulling back from the final cadence (aughhh!) and going off on quieter tangents, before finally cumulating in this huge, cymbal-clashing massive cadence. It was so much fun! And I think there's a quality that gets lost in recordings. You just can't hear the different instruments so well, and - assuming that your audience is quiet - there's such a massive dynamic range you can't get with a computer, because you would so blow your speakers if you tried! Here's a nice clip of the Promenade, the first part of the work, by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
silverflight8: 2010 Nanowrimo: text "sentences do not require verbs" (Nanowrimo 2010)
I work in a library and shelve books.

In shelving I remove the random pieces of paper that people stick into books. So far, I have found, among other things:

*Post-its, sticky colourful flags, plastic flags, etc, with and without text, sometimes shredded into small strips. Scrap paper with scribblings and paperclips fall into this category too.
*toilet paper folded over a few times (heh, obviously I am not alone in this)
*Due date slips. This is boring, except...some of them are from 1994! They're yellowing and bent and obviously no one has actually cracked open this book since '94. I am keeping track of the oldest ones (the 1994 one, properly, is a pre-printed piece of paper with the library's name, a notice saying "50 cents per day per book", and a rubber-stamped date. It's not the receipts that are computer-printed automatically when we check out books.)
*Interlibrary loan papers, complete with patron name, requesting library, date of request, a paperclip (often in colours like hot pink), and many other uninterpretable details which look like keysmashes to me.
*A "Parking Infraction Notice", with instructions saying: "If you plead not guilty then the trial will be held at [Province] Court at: [Address]" I'm not sure if they plead guilty or not, since the stub ended up in a book...
*An RBC banking receipt. Someone withdrew $100 at some point, apparently.
*A test paper on recent Chinese history, marked in red pen.
*A piece of paper with bunny stickers.

But today I found something that takes the cake:
*Someone's completed Social Security card application. With his name, address, date of birth, mailing address. Folded into eight squares. LEFT IN A BOOK.

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Today was the choir concert. A mix of old and new, as the title suggested, and nothing particularly heavy for the summer season.

tl;dr: no one fainted or flubbed badly. Success! (I think we're getting a CD, but that's not going to be out for a long time. I've included links to youtube versions that are close) )
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
*Budgeting for federal government is announced. $5.2 billion slash, everyone runs around yelling. (Age of retirement has been raised, which is a big one, I think). I cannot vouch for its objectivity without having actually seen the budget in question, but it seems levelheaded enough.

*Mr Flaherty, finance minister, decides to get rid of the penny. Cue articles and editorial swimming in penny jokes. ("Well, Flaherty has done what no other finance minister has done - he has left Canada penniless" [groan] and more in that vein. Most of them make little cents).

*I found this. Worksafe, but you may want to read...gingerly...if you ignore the digs at swimming and run with him, it makes sense. A little.

*I feel rather dreadful about keeping up. Studying for final exams has ramped up (I feel like a hound that is indolent for approximately 8 months and then transforms at the smell of blood) and I'm applying for jobs and positions left and right. (APPLICATIONS). And I am forgetting things or putting them off and then forgetting them. Mostly just forgetting. If I owed you something, I'm sorry! :(

*I was careless while trying to do a choctaw (2 foot steps to change forward/backwards on ice) and fell. I ended up half-sitting and thumped onto my back, which makes me wonder where I acquired the bruises on my knees. ??

*Now that the unseasonal weather is gone, I miss it. I hope the flowers don't freeze.
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Earthquake happened, and it is so far out of my experience that I thought it might be people on the roof, doing construction. Or something. I just never expected to be in the midst of one, and so it was so very weird.

Haven't anything else to say, except that I'm still on track with writing (omg, \o/), and at 13,500 words.

I keep trying to read the book The Court of the Air (Stephen Hunt): it's a steampunk sci-fi, I suppose you could say, and I keep putting it down. This is because it reminds me frequently of my own book - the settings are entirely different, and the characters, too - but it has that first draft feel, and the dialogue is dead. The author dumps information on you. One of the main characters shows up in the first chapter and then is absent for the next half-dozen. It skips from what should be a horrifying act (someone just got killed in front of her, hello?) and goes to somewhere else entirely.

I find myself comparing it always to the books I've just read - in this case, The Ladies of Grace Adieu (by the incomparable Susanna Clarke, who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) and Sherlock Holmes's last few chronicles. The distance between those two works and The Court of Air is enormous. In Clarke and Doyle's books you don't have the sound of the author's voice ringing in your head - Hunt's work feels as though I know what he's thinking as he writes it, adds a bit of dialogue-tag to round it off; in contrast, Clarke and Doyle's writing is confident, and it sounds like the narrator. Watson, as the narrator, sounds like a separate entity - even with the random intrusion of footnotes (I've got an annotated copy), it is always Watson speaking, not Doyle. I want to like it, and I like the premise very much; I can't get past the prose.

(This is sort of like reading Star Wars: Shatterpoint (Matthew Stover, he of the admired Episode III: Revenge of the Sith book adaptation; I deeply admire his ability to use new lines and punch you with the formatting of his prose), and something like Terry Brook's Episode I adaptation, which, frankly, was pretty much the movie narrated in a flat voice with a few extra scenes. (I read it, and if it hadn't when I was a week without internet and the first day I got books, it would not have been read.) The first one has vitality and movement (Shatterpoint evokes the Vietnam War, from what I understand of the conflict, very strongly). The second is just a retelling, and the movie, as much as it was criticized, was probably better.


So deeply behind on reviews I cannot even say. And I owe denise a thousand apologies because I still haven't finished those FAQ-revisions - they're almost done, and they keep getting pushed off *blushes really badly*


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