tysolna: (doctor nowai)
Imagine having written a piece of music that practically everyone knows, that is probably the world's most played tune, yet most people have never heard of you or know that said tune was composed by you - or even the tune's name.

The tune I am talking about is Francisco Tárrega's Gran Vals, specifically the first twelve notes; and you can hear it every time a Nokia phone rings.

I think that Tárrega rotating in his grave could be a major source of electrical power.
tysolna: (colourful me)
I don't believe this. Genesis is reforming and going on tour next year for the first time in ages. With the old setup, meaning with Phil Collins.
It's going to be a stadium tour; let's hope the guys can fill those venues. There are two or three within an area I can go to relatively fast and cheap. I hope I can afford the ticket, because hell yeah, I want to see those old farts again.
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
Just got back from a great performance of "Jenufa" at the local opera house; the role of the Kostelnička Buryjovka was sung by noted soprano Anja Silja (good grief, she's got her own Wikipedia entry!). Unlike the usual members of the cast, she sang the role in the original Czech.
She is a marvellous singer, but my mom and I both agreed that her Czech left something to be desired. But on the other hand, we also agreed that you don't really understand what's being sung in Opera anyway, and hers was a fantastic voice and performance. In fact, it seemed as if everyone on stange and in the pit gave their absolute best, and even though I was terribly tired to begin with, it was a night I wouldn't have wanted to miss.

So why was I so terribly tired? Well, since our singer's work schedule didn't allow him to be at the, uh, dress rehearsal, for want of a better word, which was supposed to take place on Tuesday, we decided to have that reherasal today, on a Sunday, at ten o'clock in the morning. And me after a night out, three beers, and my first taste of juniper schnaps. That would be Gin, but it tasted differently... Anyway. Hungover, I was still able to worm my way through the sets. I am looking forward to the gig on Friday, and hope we will have a good-sized audience.
The article in today's newspaper certainly won't help, because even though we're there with a picture and good enough text, the date of our gig is apparently Friday, the 19th of September, not the 29th. But at least they spelled the name of our band correctly this time.
tysolna: (doctor don't look back)
Last night was the much-awaited premiere of Puccini's Turandot at the local opera house.
The music was fantastic; the orchestra, the choir, the soloists were all very, very good. Nessun Dorma got a thunderous applause, and there were standing ovations and lots of curtain calls, and rightfully so I think.
The staging, however, is nothing to write home about. For an opera which is so much about love and blood, it was rather colourless. At least it didn't distract from the music. And the music was grand.

Also yesterday was the annual local language library book sale. Since I had this deal with the librarian (I donated many books to the library, and in turn I would get a hefty discount here), I managed to grab 50 books for 50 cent each. All of the Darkover books are now mine, as well as all science fiction books they had, Nimoy's "I am Spock", a book on Tolkien, Laurence Olivier's biography, a dictionary of myths and symbols, and a couple of large-size illustrated books on painters, on gargoyles, and the universe. And more. Cookbooks, too. And I wish I would have gotten even more, but I restricted myself.

The latter half of last week was so busy that I neglected a couple of things, which I will try and catch up on today and tomorrow. Although I don't know how much I can get done today, given that in four hours I'll be picked up for band rehearsal.
I wonder if we will get to play the new instrumentals we rehearsed at an extra meeting last friday. It was such fun to simply get together and play!
If and when I leave for coasts yet unknown, there will be many things here that I will miss. Friday, I realized that one of the things that will hurt most leaving will be the band.

Vincerò!

Sep. 13th, 2006 04:35 pm
tysolna: (Feld)
The best sentence I read in our newspaper today:
"I do love this choir", raves M., "because of its joy in movement."

Full article (German) here.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
I don't know what it is about the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures, especially about The Great Gates of Kiev. It's one of what I call the Pavlovian Tunes. I hear them, I start crying. And not because I'm sad, mind. It's quite hard to describe what exactly it is I'm feeling, but there's a whole lot of happiness mixed in with it.
OK, I admit, another of the Pavlovian Tunes is America's "Last Unicorn" from the movie of the same name. As soon as they hit the line "I'm alive", I start tearing up. Or the end of the "One World One Voice"-project. So it's not only classical music that elicits this reaction.
But Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra (BBC Proms, Pictures at an Exhibition, last Sunday) does such a good job.
Sniff.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
From way-too-cold to way-too-hot in the space of a few days, hooray!
So much for my feelings; now, about the weather. ;)

The parents will be returning tomorrow. Where did those three weeks go? But they should be pleasantly surprised, one hopes, about the garden and washing and stuff I did. At least they won't be coming back to a run-down messy place.

Went to a beautiful concert last night: Sibelius, Arvo Pärt, and a violin concerto. OK, so it was a Brahms violin concerto, but the violin was played by Baiba Skride, who in my opinion is one of the best, probably even the best violinist at the moment. She made the instrument sing, sigh, plead, and sit up and beg. What slightly amused me though were the pre-solo movements of her left hand: rub slighly against leg to dry it, and try out a little fingering. I do the same.
Hearing her, I wish I had practiced more when I was younger. But, as someone said last night after the concert, it's never too late unless you're dead.

Strange, that. It's too warm even for the new computer. It refuses to work correctly.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
Learning something is like rowing upstream - as soon as you stop doing it, you drift back. And I have drifted back musically, and the pieces I was able to play fifteen years ago are currently beyond my ability.
So I got my old violin etude books out of the cellar, the Sevciks and Dofleins and Tartinis. It's been some time since I felt the need to get back to those, to improve my playing, because what I could play seemed enough in the context of the band. It probably still is, but that doesn't mean I can't practice a lot more so I get better.
This realization is almost thirty years too late. When I started playing, I was too lazy to practice, and mum had to bribe me with Wonder Woman comic books.
I can't time travel to kick my younger self into gear, but I can do something so that my older self won't want to time travel to kick my present self.

Nul Points

May. 20th, 2006 11:45 pm
tysolna: (wtf?)
It's bloc bloody voting. What's the use in having the contest at all if the results are so foreseeable?
Oh, and I am not in the least surprised that Turkey gets 12 points from Germany.

But - Finland? THAT is surprising.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
Finland. Oh. My. Gods. It was sort of OK until the lead singer spread his wings...

I didn't know Shakira came from the Ukraine. Good performance though.

I find it curious that most contestants are singing in English, even though it's not their native language. Of course, the French sing in french, it's a good language to sing in.
And this entry once more makes me think that there's something wrong with either my ears or with the singers' in-ear monitoring, because many of them sing slightly - or in this case, mor than slightly - sharp, especially those who sing slower songs.

Croatia rawks! Though I don't know what this is about, it's sure fun to see.

Ireland. I expected either a folky thing or a classical Eurovision song, and got the latter. Where's my lighter...

I'm watching this over the Dutch channel, because the German one is unlistenable to - there's a horrible phase variance in the sound - and the Dutch guy just said something about Prozac-Pop. I agree with him.

Don't ask me what the entry from Turkey sounded like; I was watching the hot guys dancing.

Armenia - Euro-Pop, yes, but with definite home country flavour. Mmm, bondage choreography.

Yep, I voted. Now to wait and see who wins.

I'll stop spamming your f-list now. ;)
tysolna: (vampire squirrel)
Lithuania certainly gets MY vote - they know what it's all about! Brilliant!

UK. Girls in school uniforms. Hmmm...
tysolna: (violin)
Latvia. I am impressed. Very brave, and they pulled it off.

Liked the Hardanger violins of Norway (I would), but the song itself isn't to my taste.

Lots of white-clad women dancing all over the place, regardless of the country.

Las Ketchup?!?

I don't think Germany has a chance, good though the song is.
tysolna: (tardis tinkering)
It has cooled down, the sky's cloudy, and there are thunderflies flying around my room - you know, these little fruitfly-like things that appear before a summer rain? But, alas, the only rain we had were about five drops. It has cooled down, at least.

I had wanted to go to a concert tonight, but I am afraid I'm too tired, having prepared a lot for tomorrow, when a birthday party will happen here. There's something to be said for the constand keeping of order, at least there's less to clean up when guests are due. So I'll just relax tonight with a glass of red wine and the Patrick Troughton "Doctor Who" episode "The Invasion", to celebrate the fact that the Cybermen will be back on TV screens tomorrow. What I've seen so far about tomorrow's episode makes me both like and hate them. I like them as a viewer, they look pretty fantastic when they move, and I hate them as a Who RPG leader who's been planning to have Earth invaded by cybermen for, oh, over a year now. It could be that I need to radically re-think my storyline.

I'm also pretty proud to have made a deadline. A year ago, our band's bass player has given me a CD for my birthday, with 14 tracks published between May 2004 and May 2005, but with no tracklist. My job was to make a tracklist by May 2006, and if I made it, he would get me a Genesis or Phil Collins CD / DVD of my choice. Considering that he loathes Genesis and Phil Collins with a passion, that's quite a sacrifice for him. Anyway, today I managed to track down the last song on the CD that I still had missing. Strangely enough, it was a song with German lyrics (a pitch black Goth song with howling wolves in the background; pretty cool!), and those with English and even French lyrics were easier to find.
Mission accomplished! Now all I have to do is convince him that I'd rather have a Steve Hackett DVD. I have a good argument for that: I have all the Genesis / Phil Collins stuff I'd ever want, and Steve Hackett used to be in Genesis, after all. ;)
tysolna: (Default)
I'm away for a week, visiting my family in the Czech Republic.
All my bags are already packed, which is weird, as I am usually a last-minute packer. I even have all my current favourite music on my little mp3 player, one chip full of strange rock music, one full of classical mixtures (Verdi, Wirén, Borodin, Wilms, Korngold, and P.D.Q. Bach), the batteries of all the appropriate devices - the mp3 player, mobile phone, and digital camera - are full up, and my mind is already thinking in Czech.

Anyway, this thing is closed for a week. Take care, and cya later! :)
tysolna: (woman with violin)
Winter is back! Who would have thought. It's March, dammit, I want my spring flowers! :-D

The day's work is done, both mental and physical, up to and including the dishes, the floors, and fresh bread. Two more books are on the pile of "bring them back to the Library, they are not what you need".

Tonight is band practice, for the second time this week, and I will probably put in half an hour of warm-up exercises in a few minutes. We're all looking forward to our next gig, even if with mixed feelings.

Something has happened which hasn't happened in a long time: I fell in love with a pop song. It's been playing on my computer, my mp3 player and my mind for the past week. The funny thing is that I know exactly what it is about that song that makes it so special (by the way, it's Electric Light Orchestra's Twilight, off the "Time" album). It is a superbly crafted song, half prog rock, half disco, with a thumping bass line which doesn't change even when the chords do, or at least not until the chorus starts, and it has very firmly caught my ear the way that in recent times only classical pieces could. I fall asleep hearing it in my mind's ear, and I wake up with the same.

I've come full circle. So I guess Jazz is the next thing I will discover.
tysolna: (tysolna's avocado)
I feel good (deedledeedledeedledeet)
I knew that I would (deedledeedledeedledeet)
I feel good (deedledeedledeedledeet)
I knew that I would now (deedledeedledeedledeet)
So good (bap bap) so good (bap)
'cause I got...

.. what? Good question. Tangibles, please! *ponders*

I got my job application back with a "Thanks but no thanks". I'm going to pretend I was rejected on account of being over-qualified. Shame, I could've used the money. No matter, I'll have a look at temp jobs tomorrow.

I have a five-string banjo here that's looking for a new owner. Just one more thing I want to get rid of. Simplify, simplify, less stuff, more space.

The puzzle mind map on my study wall is slowly filling up with notes and ideas. I still have the feeling that I'm taking two steps forward, one step back, but slow as it is, it is a movement towards my goal.

I just saw something on tv (arte, again) about what makes people creative, geniuses or savants. If what they say is true, I could do with more dopamine in my life. Dopamine is apparently also produced / released by activity. I'm going swimming tomorrow.

Since my "Ahì me"-post last week, I've finished three books, and browsed / speed read three more. I'm also kicking my body into gear, since a tired body makes for a good night's sleep.

It's getting cold and snowy again. Why, oh why?

I am convinced that poultry will be cheap in the oncoming weeks (before it gets really expensive); I'm glad I have a freezer now, I'll stock up a little.

It's confirmed: My band's got a gig on April 27th, this time in our home town. All the better to really suck in front of people who know us.

And finally, I am surprised what kind of music people choose for figure skating. I'm also surprised at some versions of classical pieces I heard recently, also at figure skating. And I wonder how many people go into record shops these days, trying to find out and thereby trying the patience of the salespeople with queries for "the music that played when such-and-such skated, you know?"
tysolna: (woman with violin)
I finally took heart and listened to the recording made at our last gig, the one I was so enthusiastic about. I already had a bad feeling about it, since I knew the sound mix wasn't as good as I thought, and my violin playing was, how shall I put it, not entirely in tune. Since we had a pretty good rehearsal last night, I figured I might as well listen to the desaster.
And wouldn't you know, it's even worse than I thought!
First, the mix. Too much voice, drums and bass almost non-existent, same with the backing vocals, which might even be a good thing, too much electric guitar, and too much violin. Horrible violin. I don't know what I was playing, but it must've been in a different key than the others. It is barely bearable.
Out of 17 tracks, there is one that I would play to others. Which is a shame, because our singer is really doing a very good job, and it's the first gig with the new guitarist, but it's ruined by the mix and the violin. Argh!!!

The recording of the gig from a year ago, the last gig with the old guitarist, is much better, but then we also had a real-life sound engineer mixing us. The individual playing still isn't perfect, but it is better, even though I am playing and singing enthusiastically higher than I should. It is of course a problem of hearing and intonation in the moment, and of wanting to be right, especially when I have second voice to the singer. I have to remind myself next time that being right isn't as important as sounding right in the context of the band.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
The old skills of playing records still exist in the back of my mind. How to keep the record playing correctly when there's a scratch that makes the needle jump, how to watch out for it settling down on the single, how to clean the record before playing it. It seems that since I grew up with this, I do it almost instinctively.

I never found out, and still don't know, why the titles of songs, when printed on records, Sometimes Have Each Word Beginning With A Cap Like This. Where does this convention come from? This is probably a very minor detail, but it's been puzzling me for a long time now. Which always makes minor details grow huge in our minds.

My vinyl collection leaves no doubt that my youth, the time before you start buying albums because singles are enough, was spent in the 1980s. Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Styx, Kim Wilde, Tears For Fears, Yazoo, and a handful of German bands of the NDW. By the way, I can still remember my first ever single, Dave Steward's It's My Party. (For those who are curious, my first ever LP was Art Garfunkel's 'Fate For Breakfast', because it had Bright Eyes on it. I still own it.)

My musical taste has definitely changed over the last twenty years. Twenty-four, to be exact, because it was in 1982 when Secret Service's Cry Softly came out. I can remember very well that the song moved me, that I thought it was a very good piece of music. I liked it enough to buy the single, which given that I was twelve meant saving pocket money. You can probably guess what comes next. Yeah. Today, upon re-listening to it with an ear accustomed to quite different things, and while the twelve-year-old within me can still remember what that song meant to her, I think it's crap. Simple, forseeable in what it does, uninspired, badly-mixed crap.
On the other hand, I Won't Let You Down by Ph.D. is still great.

I used to do a lot of mix tapes for friends in the days of vinyl and tape and beginning CDs. Even though it's done easier these days, what with friendly programs burning CDs, I haven't done them in a long time, and I don't know why.

Every time I click on the stop-button of the handy little free audio recorder I digitise things with, I expect to hear the sound of a tape stopping.
tysolna: (colourful me)
There is music that, when I listen to it for some time, makes me go funny and strange in the head. Sort of like aural recreational drug, if you will. Arvo Pärt, for example, always makes me vanish into a very particular headspace, concentrating on Bach is like concentrating on a mandala, and overdosing on Verdi has also been known to happen.
What I had forgotten, mostly because I only have one vinyl album and one video tape (and why? that's not enough!), is that the music of Laurie Anderson also provides an exit-point out of everyday thoughtwaves. Very strange; I could not possibly have appreciated this when I bought the album. I can't even remember why I bought it in the first place. Maybe because she plays electrical violin.

nell'opera

Jan. 13th, 2006 11:14 pm
tysolna: (violin)
Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate;
va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!


... and after that, no-one applauded. The guy two seats next to me was crying.

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