ricardienne: (chord)
-read Catching Fire -- I'm a few chapters in, and IT IS SO GOOD! (Also: I would have taken an epigraph for my senior project from it if I had had it a month earlier!) (please, don't give me any spoilers, if you've read it, though)
-write a crazy mystery/thriller/historical novel/Dan Brown parody about quarter-tone counterpoint on the late 16th/early 17th-century Italian musical scene (deciphering the secret mind-control harmonies of the ancients! Religious wars in the background! What if the crazy-insane Gesualdo learns about the power of the enharmonic tetrachord!?) I sort of really want to do this, in fact.

Things I don't want to do:
-sort out how many and what kind of commas made up Vicentino's minor/major dieses and write it up in paper form.
-write the final Latin paper on Apuleius, which is looking right now like it will be stunningly mediocre at best.
-pack. This I really do need to do, though.

Also: I'm a little bit scared of not being in college anymore. I have less than a week left and then where will I be?
ricardienne: (Default)
The only recording Naxos has of Giulio Cesare is an English-language one. I'm actually enjoying listening to it: certainly, the extra syllables/words of English sound a little bumpy, but it is very pleasant to have an idea of what is going on, just from listening. Also, I had forgotten that in it Cleopatra disguises herself as "Lydia" at times.
ricardienne: (Default)
So I'm listening to songs by Hayden, and by the 4th Earl of Abingdon. Verily, they are crazy. I'm not sure whether I find Abingdon's (whose name, by the way, was Willoughby Bertie) political songs or Hayden's sailor song (with refrain: "what? no death?") more hilarious.
ricardienne: (Default)
Yesterday, the voice teacher who is in charge of the opera came up to me in the hall and told me that he had just been talking with one of his students -- a fried of mine -- about me, and that it was very impressive that I had "managed to pick up Greek in no time at all" and that he was a classicist at University, although he's forgotten his Greek by now. Compliments are so much more rewarding when given with a British accent. He also assured me that I was definitely on for bass continuo in Dido and Aeneas. YAY!!!!!!!

We started the St. John Passion in Bach seminar today. I was surprisingly disturbed, hearing all of the "and then the high priest of the JEWS" &c. (No, I don't know German, but having been given a translation, I can pick out a few words as it goes by.) I mean, I know that it's there, and that it was a standard part of the story as it was understood in that time, and so forth. I know I've encountered lots of works containing "historical anti-Semitism." And it doesn't usually make me uncomfortable. I do think that the fact that it's a big authoritative German work -- and this makes it sound as though I have a very personal family connection to the Holocaust, which is not, thankfully the case -- makes the reaction different than if it were in just about any other medium.
I started to try to explain it to J. -- but I got into an argument with him last year when Handel's Messiah was in the news because someone had determined that large portions of the libretto came out of a strongly anti-Semitic tract. He was righteously indignant that anyone could complain about Great Works of Art and, today, too, he made one of those "well, I guess Bach isn't so politically correct these days" remarks that I find so annoying. Because I am conflicted on how to approach Great Works of Art whose ideologies are Not Okay -- and you can't excuse the problems, even if they do come from modern history, as "political incorrectness" as if oversensitivity to prejudice is the only issue. On the other hand, I don't support changing the text, or not performing them, because they are great musical works -- the opening chorus of the St. John Passion is one of the most wonderful concerted chorales I've heard. And, sometimes editors' notes/conductor's notes/program notes that try to explain or apologize for the bigoted content are embarrassing to read. But somehow you do have to face it, and I think there is a responsibility to make clear the limitations of a work in view of more enlightened (and I do, I hope, use that word advisedly) ideas and inescapable historical fact. /my thoughts on art and ideology
ricardienne: (Default)
I was listening to the Casals suites the other day, and he does this most amazing thing in the G major Gigue: he syncopates it and makes it sound almost like a courante. I like it a lot, although I don't think there is anything to justify it -- less even than Anner Bylsma's incredible-cool a-flat in the final cadence of the E-flat Gigue -- this would be an interesting thing to research, though.

This is (the important part of) his articulation:
big image under cut )

The paired lines show a slight portato-y thing to distinguish the notes. The long lines sound like real ties.

Here is the audio (I'm not sure why it claims this is the "D major" suite. It isn't. And here is Anner Bylsma, who is performing in semi-period style, doing the same for comparison.
ricardienne: (Default)
This might count as studying, but probably not.

Macros )


Sep. 23rd, 2006 10:33 pm
ricardienne: (chord)
Since [livejournal.com profile] kaskait posted the rather nifty Gerald Schwartz "Lament for Beowulf," I thought I'd better offer some "Germanic" music of my own:

Sibelius Symphony No. 2 (Complete: a big file)

Mahler Symphony No. 1:
Movement 1
Movement 2
Movement 3
Movement 4

Have a liverwurst, too! Enjoy, enjoy!
ricardienne: (chord)
This is definitely the week of lj spam from me… but come Friday, I'll be pretty much off for a month and a half, so that will make up for it.

I am trying to record myself and I sound awful. I've made 5 takes of the prelude and 2 of the bourrés, and they're all so horrible that there is no way I can send them in. No dynamic contrast, icky sound, the wrong notes being emphasized and popping out all over the place -- if they listen to this, they won't let me into any of their programs, let alone the baroque one.

And now my hand hurts.


Jun. 13th, 2006 02:28 pm
ricardienne: (chord)
Called A.E.M today, and I am going! Officially on baroque cello, but I shall try find time to mess around with viols or a lute or something as well. And maybe when I'm home in August I will try to take lessons for that month…
ricardienne: (chord)
I wanted to listen to Marriage of Figaro tonight -- but NAXOS seems to suddenly only have either a)exerpts, b)"Opera Explained" or c)a really cool looking 1930's historic recording that I can't access because of "copyright reasons." What happened to the version that I listened to all year? So I am listening to Purcell Dido and Aeneas, instead. It's very pretty -- maybe they'll do it in Opera Class next semester and I will get to play pit: that would be awesome. Naxos keeps pausing in the middle of tracks, and I guessed the last word + pitch + rhythm of one of Belinda's arias on my own. Oh, I am so talented. Or Purcell is sometimes predictable.

I finally got Grand Tour from the library. I still don't think these Wrede/Stevernmer ones are as good as Mairelon the Magician and Magician's Ward. I also think that Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a better Napoleonic England w/wizards novel. But I liked this one, two.

spoilers, probably -- I'm not very good at talking about books without giving stuff away )
ricardienne: (chord)
Today is Anne Neville's birthday. Also [livejournal.com profile] angevin2's. Happy Birthday to both!

The Haydn D-major concerto is one of the few pieces of major-mode music that makes me sad. Sad in a good way, though. I got sort of teary of mm 71-76 while practicing it this morning. Sooooo good!
ricardienne: (snail)
Well, not really. But we did "play" Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht at Sightreading Orchestra tonight. I say "play" in the loosest sense, of course. Heehee -- it was ridiculous, but kind of fun. Sightreading Schoenberg? It isn't a bad way to end an evening of sight-reading.
ricardienne: (augustine)
Something has changed and it is not at all good. Three times in the past two times I have gone for a walk I have had men in cars yell stupid things at me. Now I don't want to go walking alone anymore, and if I go with someone else, than I have to talk. But if I don't get out of this house regularly, I shall really and truly and completely go nuts. [A sidenote to my mother: the incident of the Second-Grade Piano Teacher and the New Shoes has NO RELEVANCE WHATSOEVER to whether or not I am truthful about things now.]

Monteverdi can also go on the list of Things that make me Sad. It shouldn't, but it does. I am not having a good time of it at all as regards to music. I cannot make myself practice, and I don't care at all, and when I think about all the pieces I'm supposed to learn this summer, I get even more depressed. But I don't know how not to be a music major -- I have to be a music major. I don't know how to do anything else. And besides, if I drop music, then I will just spend those couple of hours being useless and lazy, and I don't need more time spent doing that.

I spent most of today trying to fit my doublet mock-up. After two tries with a dress dummy, I gave up, as usual, and am being my own dress dummy. For the record, trying to alter a mock-up on yourself while wearing a corset is quite self-defeating. I gave up, finally, although maybe I will be able to finish tomorrow. I have decided that I want to try to do some embroidery or at least trim sort of thing on it. Because, after all, what kind of costuming project would it be if it didn't include an interminable embroidery portion. And all of the portraits I can find have either embroidery or pom-poms, (or both) and I am NOT doing those. Also, my embroidery skills, unlike my attempts at needlelace, are not entirely horrible.
ricardienne: (snail)
Maybe. I am definitely preparing to fake my way through class tomorrow by not really studying and doing this instead.

New York was awesome, but that may be because anything with F. is awesome. We went to the Frick gallery, which was… oh my goodness so unbelievable! We were looking at an Renaissance Adoration of the Magi and making fun of the angels on hovercrafts* and then I turned around, and there was Sir Thomas More. The Holbein portrait! (Although I don't suppose there is another one.) I am of two minds about More. On the one hand, I've seen A Man for All Seasons, but on the other, I like Richard III. I cautiously accept, therefore, the hypothesis that he was actually satirizing Henry VII and the Tudor Myth when he wrote his biography of Richard, but a)I don't know enough to know if this is a legitimate theory or not, and b)it does seem like a cop-out. I bought a postcard, though, which I now have on my wall.
*seriously. The background sky was full of these hovering cloud things with angels perched on them. It was very funny.

But it did make me wonder again what I'm doing here, being in New York. I love cities. I hail mostly from western suburbia, it is true, but whenever I spend time in a realy city, I love it. I like walking on treets, and watching people and looking at buildings, and feeling like I'm part of something. I LIKE being anonymous, sometimes. I knew this before I went to college, and yet I still ended up on an ugly campus roughly in the middle of nowhere. In high school, it was "in college, you'll be somewhere you want to be," and now it's, "in grad school, you'll go somewhere you really want to go." Which means that I'll probably end up at U Death Valley for grad school, with the proviso that, "when you get a job, it will be where you want to live." Ha.

The first rehearsal for the Monteverdi was tonight. It went pretty well, I guess. The coach only had baroque bows for the violins, which was too bad, as holding my bow out on the stick kind of makes my hand hurt. But she did say that she would bring the contact info for the head of that summer baroque program next time, and this is good.

David Brooks was his usual hideous self this morning.

Lunch Period Poli Sci )

Now, to cheer myself up, I will do the Alphabet Meme:

Comment on this entry (er, if anyone reading this hasn't done this one already or wants to do it again!) and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter, and tell us what the word means to you and why.

I have the letter "n" from [livejournal.com profile] st_egfroth:

10 N-words )


Apr. 16th, 2006 08:19 pm
ricardienne: (augustine)
I think Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is one of my favorite pieces of all time. I spent this weekend listening to it mostly continuously. I wish we could play it, but I know that this orchestra wouldn't be up to it, and we don't even have enough players.

Actually, I think I like Tallis's music on its own as much as or more than just about any Renaissance composer. He's at least as good as Gesualdo, for choral sorts of things. And the setting of that psalm is just… there are no words. It's in my sight-singing book, and when I don't want to practice, I get it out and play through the parts on the piano.

It's strange: music is the medium that conveys the most spirituality, to me. (Well, architecture, too, in a sense: Cathedrals always make me shiver in a good way.) As I'm not religious, I don't really know whether what I'm feeling approximates at all what it must feel like to really believe, but it's in religious music that I think I can understand the power of the texts and the beliefs. I can read the Bible; I can read Augustine; but that's really just words on a page. I can disassociate the meaning from the religious content. I can say: this is what some people believe(d), but it remains completely separate. Likewise religious paintings. They can be beautiful, and moving, but I can only comprehend the spiritual content in a third person sort of way. Not so, music.

Last fall, the choir sang Haydn's Missa in tempore belli. I hadn't listened to a full mass* in a very long time, and certainly not when I was in a position to follow along with the text. Then, I think I had a glimpse (or whatever the aural equivalent of a glimpse is) of what the words really might import to someone who did believe, and how they might effect that power. It was rather incredible. I really saw (heard?) the mystery and, well, mysticism that, when one comes down to it, is at the heart of Christianity, or at least, the historical kind of Christianity I tend to think about. There is certainly an intellectual tradition, but it's the non-rational part that is the most powerful, as I have come to see it. And perhaps music is abstract enough that it can demonstrate that even to an unbeliever.
*I've been to Catholic weddings and funerals several times, and once to an ordinary Sunday mass, but they were quite short in comparison to an (old-fashioned?) orchestra one.

Obviously, it is Easter that is provoking all of this. Actually, Easter is just sort of an excuse, as there is all of this faith sort of spilling over from everyone. I think about this quite a bit.

I keep running into people from my lit class, and it's sort of embarassing. I've had discussions about whether or not we can ignore the Monday noon deadline for papers under the office door in light of Tuesday's class being cancelled due to the professor giving a lecture at Cambridge University. The thing is: it doesn't matter for me, because I've got my paper pretty much done, have a copy printed and, barring some disaster (knock on wood) I will get it in tomorrow morning well before noon. I haven't told anyone this; I just say that my paper is "coming along." This makes me feel rather dishonest, but I don't want to seem so weird and show-offy by saying, "well, I basically finished my paper Friday, and all I'm really worrying about right now is whether or not I can get away with a slightly smart-alec Shakespeare reference in my conclusion." Why am I embarrassed by this? That's the way I work; I have to start early, and it isn't necessarily better. As several people have pointed out to me, I torture myself over papers from the moment they're assigned until the moment I hand them in, and even then, I tend to get depressed over them. But it does sound like I'm trying to set myself up as better than anyone else when I'm worrying about a paper that I've already banged out most of and someone else hasn't looked at the topics, yet. I shouldn't be ashamed of it: there's nothing wrong with taking a long time. It is more impressive to think that one can write a great essay the night before it's due, and I do admire the people who can do that, but that isn't how I work.

This is all very reminiscent of St Augustine, actually. I remember that infamous passage from his Confessions where he talks about how he lied about sinning so he would seem to fit in better with his utterly depraved classmates at Carthage. It's the same ultimately self-promoting complaint I'm making about myself: "Oh, how terrible, I'm lying to seem worse than I am!" Because, of course -- although this lack of modesty is unbecoming, it is the truth -- I do think it is a good quality I have, that I start early and have time to rewrite and revise.
ricardienne: (chord)
I think this is the first year in a while that Easter Week and Passover have coincided so nicely.

The effect? I feel very lonely. I was talking to my dad the other day, and he said that he now regrets never having taken N. and me to a seder -- my dad saying this! -- so we would at least have that experience. He had to go to religious school all the way through high school; my mother was taken to chuch at Easter and Christmas. At least they knew what they were not taking part in. And me, the story of my life has been trying to find out intellectually all of these things that I am never going to have spiritually, or even culturally. I haven't regretted being an athiest so much in a long time.

My lesson was awful today. Well, okay, not awful, but not great either. I got a lecture on memorization -- I should be memorizing pieces the moment I start to learn them, so that there is never a piece I can play that I can't play from memory. In other words, this fourth suite prelude that I've had almost a year on should be memorized. Of course, I can't play it yet. The low point was hearing that my attempts as rubato were "not based in reality at all." But the whole movement is a disaster for me. Whenever I play it, I feel like this giant, crude, barbaric thing who is beating poor J.S. Bach over the head with a cudgel or something. It sounds terrible -- all scratchy and rough and labored. I should just give up, but instead, I'm supposed to learn it and perform it in a month. Right.
ricardienne: (snail)
Or, at least, less.

The problem, however, is that, as usual, once I'm out of the mood swing, I ignore it. At my lesson today, for example. I had a very normal lesson. Actually, it was a pretty good lesson. We worked on a not-Prelude Bach. (I like the 4th suite prelude -- when other people play it.) It seems that I was supposed to be working on the whole suite, so it's a good thing that I was messing around with the other movements a bit. And we talked about skirts. What we did not talk about were things like my not-really-wanting-to-come-back-here-ness, my practicing issues, my anxiety issues as they relate to playing cello, and so on. Because I didn't want to suddenly announce, "oh, and by the way, I've been in an almost continual state of tears for the past four days, to the point where I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish the semester, but it seems to be in remission right now" while we were talking about bow speed.

The quartet gave a concert today. Beethovern Op 18. no 4 and Schubert Last String Quartet. The Beethoven I knew, but the Schubert was new to me, and incredible! I want to play it, particularly for the Andante (which = giant cello romantic melodic solo). For a quartet in G major, it sure spend a lot of time in minor keys. The second movement was basically e minor (although it had a cop out* major ending), the third I'm pretty sure was b minor (which I guess makes sort of sense as its the relative minor of the dominant), and the last flirted with minor right up until the end, too. Not that I mind. I like minor. There was also a modern quartet. I didn't like it so much. Actually, I almost fell asleep during it. I tend to do that in very modern, harmonically uncomprehensible stuff. This surprises most people: "how can you fall asleep during something so dissonent?" But really, when there's no nice melody to listen for, or an interesting harmony to follow, or just a good piece, I guess I get bored. The best in-concert nap I ever had was during a horrible electronic cello and tape recorder duet at a UA recital, once.
*there I go again…

I do have something towards my essay, now, which is good, and I'm not worrying. I think I'm going to need to cite Augustine (sadly, not on peacocks but on demons), which makes me quite happy. And it isn't a gratuitous citation, either. I need him on the Roman gods as demons in order to make one of my points. Of course, Thomas Aquinas would probably be better, as Dante is more into Scholasticism, I think, and I have an idea that Scholasticism sort of replaced Augustine on several points. However, I haven't read Aquinas, and I don't think that he would contradict on this particular point. Besides, Petrarca, who postdates Dante, is quite into Augustine, so I'm sure I'm going to be fine. (Of course, the lazy being tht I am, I haven't actually looked up the passage I need, but I can do that this week: the essay isn't due until the 17th).

I've been thinking about writing in general, recently. Or, not in general, but in particular. A little while ago, I made a thouroughly unsubstantiated generalization on [livejournal.com profile] thynk2much's journal about the high proportion of slash writers who are female. Now I'm going to make a whole bunch more such generalizations.

From my very limited vantage point, I'm going to go one step farther, and say that this is not just slash, but a lot of the "amateur" writing out there, particularly fanfiction of one kind or another, that is done by women and girls. If this is true, it wouldn't be an anomaly of the internet. In middle school, I was a hanger-on of sorts to that sub-clique of Girls Who Wrote, and carried around 3-ring binders with their novels in them. Granted, in high school, there were a few guys who did the same, and now, in college, I have absolutely no idea what the ratios are in the writing program (adjusted for the female slanting population).

But it goes back even farther than that. Girls are supposed to write. In particular, they are supposed to write not very good, Mary Sue-ish sorts of things. (Which implies that all of this kind of "amateur" writing is not very good and Mary Sue-ish, which it absolutely isn't. But a lot of what I have come into contact with tends to be.)

Anne Shirley, of Anne of Green Gables, founded the "Story Club," where she and her friends wrote purple prose about the tragic loves and lives of grand society ladies. In Anne of the Island, and older and wiser Anne finds some of her old stories and has 'good laugh' at them.
Francie Nolan, of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn writes, some good, some bad.
Jerusha Abbot, of Dear Daddy Longlegs is sent to college because of her talent for writing, and goes through the ups and downs of composition and rejection several times over the course of the novel.
Emily [of New Moon] (also an LM Montgomery heroine) fancies herself a poet.
St. Nicholas Magazine ran many short, didactic stories about girls and their attempts at novel-writing, most of which gently pointed out the failings most often run into by budding female writers.
Sarah Crewe tells stories, which is not quite the same as writing them, I suppose.
To be a little more modern, Mia Thermopolis of Princess Diaries also has plans to be a writer, although, strangely, we are never given evidence of her actually writing anything other than her journal.
Jo, of Little Women is a writer.

The obvious argument to be made is that many of these works I've cited are autobiographical; it's probably true. We also read that the Brontë sisters made up all kinds of fairy stories, complete with their own language; we have some of the "juvenalia" of Jane Austen. But we never hear about this with male authors. Charles Dickens was busy putting labels on to bottls of stove-blacking; did Tolstoy scribble stories while at school? Poetry, yes. That is to say that male poets sometimes have shown themselves young, not that Tolstoy write poety while at school. He may have; I don't know. Actually, I don't know what I'm talking about in a big way. I'll stop, now.

Oh, and I was kind of joking about the no one commenting well. Well, no, I wasn't joking, exactly, but I wasn't trying to say "you should comment on the random things I post and I'll be upset if you don't" either.
ricardienne: (chord)
Is what I should have quipped in Latin, today while we were doing Ovid, but I only managed it in English. Oh, well. Next time, I shall be prepared and be brave enough to attempt a joke in lingua originale.

We had our concert tonight; it wasn't too bad, although something weird happened in the Wagner and M. and I got off by a beat, but I don't think anyone (in the audience, that is) noticed. We had a big crowd this time: probably two dozen entire people.

My lesson was moderately okay-awful. But D. mentioned a possible Monteverdi opera this semester that she recommended me for. Which would be unbelievably awesome if I actually got to do. It would probably make up for the less-than-wonderful orchestra experience this year.

It's funny: the more things I tick off towards break starting, the guiltier I feel about feeling that I'm off the hook. I have to meet with two professors tomorrow, one about a paper and one "just to catch up on things" (which is possibly even scarier), to go to Latin & French tables, to practice at least my 1 reserved hour -- plus my ~45 minutes in the morning -- and go to lit class. And I should do laundry. Well, and I need to print my boarding pass and pack. But that shouldn't take long, as I'm not bringing anything except my laptop, my bow, the books that I'll need, and maybe some socks and underwear (must check with my mother concerning whether or not I have any underwear still at home).

Lit class should be fun, though. We don't have another paper for quite a while, and we're doing Inferno. This is pure pleasure, to go and talk about Dante. I am having a few issues with this distinction between "the Dante Pilgrim" and "the Dante Poet," however. Not that I can't see that there is a difference. But when I hear "Dante Poet," I think of an anonymous author. We talk about the Pearl Poet, and the Beowulf Poet, and, more frequently, in art, the Master of the St Cecilia Altarpiece. But the Dante Poet: we know who he is; in fact, he is who he is. This sounds like we only know him as the author of the poem about Dante. Although, I suppose, one could ask to what extend Dante did create himself in the Divine Comedy. There's all of that weird, cyclical allusion to his fame, which only came after the publication of the work, and his status as a great poet, as which he wasn't recognized until he wrote Divine Comedy. So maybe it is appropriate to think of the person who wrote the poem as the "creator of Dante Alighieri," and hence, the Dante Poet.

I got my mid-term crite sheet today. Among other (fairly nice) things, the professor noted that although I am "quick to notice argumentative holes," I "avoid ad hominem attacks." This is pretty ironic, considering the amount of literally ad hominem attacking I do (to (some) of these same people) when I'm talking to friends or in this journal. My second thought was that perhaps this is a hint that I am verging on this sort of thing in class. Although I really don't think I am, and I'm pretty sure this professor would not try to correct it in such a round-about way if I were. I don't think I've made an ad hominem attack on anyone in a serious argument/discussion since Professor Umbridge's class high school government. And even then, if it was ad hominemn, it was also most certainly in absentia. And, I would argue that it wasn't really ad hominem (let's see how many times I can use the phrase in this paragraph, shall we?), because, in spite of what Professor Umbridge the teacher may have said, my comment was that someone who thinks he has a direct link to the deity is mentally unstable and therefore not fit to be president, which, although it is flippant and perhaps offensive, is not irrelevant to a discussion of whether or not one should re-elect Bush. /defensiveness.
ricardienne: (augustine)
Dear P., A.,

If you are going to cancel rehearsal, it's good procedure to LET THE REST OF THE GROUP know. It is, incidentally, very bad form to make your cellist schlep her cello (uphill) across campus, up two steep flights of stairs to class, down the same, farther across campus, and all the way back for nothing, particularly when it is snowing. Just a heads up.

T. and I got to whine about the conservatory in Latin this morning, which was quite fun. Granted, it got pretty stilted when we wanted to get more specific than "they aren't friendly" and "they capture all of the practice rooms." But even so, it was good to get some of these negative feelings out. I was rather pleased that I was able to find a practical use for all that capturing that is always being done in our examples, I did get horribly tongue-tied on "amicabiliores" (as in "non amicabilis sunt, sed alii aliis amicabiliores").

I really need to write my essay on Frankenstein. Why the hell am I so paralyzed over this? I know what I'm writing about, and I know that I don't have a huge amount of time to do it, so why the procrastination?


ricardienne: (Default)

January 2017

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