Anyway, back in bris after the Edinburgh month which was Good, busy and exhausting but we did loads and as I've been quipping to everyone there was not a lot of off stage drama this year which was great. Also I got to see my girlfriend almost every single day which was veeeery nice.
Now I am... Sort of attacking the to do list tho I seem
I seem to be putting off the actual PhD music composing bit oO Been playing around with Reaktor and computer music some! And doing body balance classes and breathing for Health :) someday I will totally run again but the weather has been every single thing today!
Other things: errghhh there are a bunch of non-uni-work busy things I need to do, some of which kinda snuck up. Concert series stuff (a lot of it), two choirs' worth of Christmas build-up and first-year assessments in a couple weeks, and all this kinda expands to take up All The Time... What I really need to get on with, of course, is finishing a decent bit of music and seeing my supervisor (annoying circumstances happened and he had to cancel, but that was nearly month ago; emails back and forth and then he was still busy with stuff and never replied and then I sort of let it drop which I shouldn't, but now of course I feel like I need to have a lot more to present. Aaand I keep getting distracted/finding stuff isn't as quick to write as I want when I do get on to it. The usual.)
I've been bitten by the Hamilton musical bug, did I say? Majorly going round in my head!! Wasn't sure about it at first and now I'm listening to Aaron Burr, Sir / My Shot multiple times on repeat before moving on.
Alas there are a lot of issues on the concert-organising front (like our second pianist dropping out...) so I'll need to spend some time emailing round and I don't know what.
But I also want to make sure to really get a lot of music done today, so:
- finish sketching out Brooding oboe movement?
- actually reopen the strings thing and take a look...
- should actually practise at least on instrument as I Planned to every day and haven't properly in weeks.
I now have a google doc from the Meeting Notes template that is outlining the chronology of the war which is the background and increasingly the foreground to the fic of how-on-earth-do-I-write-this. And getting on towards 10 000 words of scribbly notes!? I need to go back and focus on the start of it, see if it even is remotely the same fic. And figure what on earth style it should be. I think I have a sort of ending now, though!
I really like the new manuscript paper! and am using it. (There's nothing particularly strange or exciting about it! Although, actually, I was surprised by how far apart the staves were and how they're slightly narrower, but actually this seems better. So, maybe will adapt the spacing for the next round of hetalia manuscript paper if I make it...)
Going to see if I can type up this one part of oboe & piano piece before improv tonight.
I made myself the most epic of grilled cheese for lunch, and caramel hot chocolate.
The architecture is so different here...! Back to Bristol and windy hilly streets, rows and rows of brick terraces, or blocks... Having just come from Connecticut suburbs and all the spaced out painted wooden houses! (Wood houses are so pretty, we really don't do them here.)
Anyway. I had a really nice week. Very chilled. Quite a few times sitting with my grandmother or walking around the center and a few pauses where we were probably both thinking "unnghhhh what shall we talk about??" but I hope she realises I really don't mind! We did talk about the family history and back she met her husband. (In the war, she was working a "very minor government job" in Washington and he was working as a civilian engineer with the navy--then they got him a nco job or something so he wasn't drafted off somewhere else. They were married Sept 12 (I think?) 1945...) So much interesting stuff. And going back a bit further my goodness everyone had a lot of kids! Both her parents were one of seven children. We talked generally, books, religion, politics (!)...
ALSO, the place she lives -- 'retirement community' I guess it is? basically loads of apartments but there's also a dining room and facilities like that and it is right next to a next level care place -- is really nice I think. BUT ALSO. Kind of hilariously high-school-like in some ways. We went down for pre-dinner drinks to meet her "Friday table" -- the bar guy knows everyone and walked straight over to her with her large Scotch -- and created some minor drama by apparently sitting at a table that had been "reserved" with a glass of water! This infamous "British lady who gives the British a bad name" walked over and told Grandma and her friend this, and they just looked back "...oh?" and did nothing. And then explained to me this is a very rude lady so that's why they were not as accommodating... Also you can't reserve tables with glasses of water. (Also the people it was reserved for didn't show up for ages so I don't feel too bad!! I was like... we could move... or there is a perfectly good table the other side you could reserve..) The difference from uh high school is that people will start talking behind people's backs when they're rIGHT THERE. ......Wow I am making this sound very bitchy! it mostly isn't! it's very nice! but I can see how people would make movies. All the social drama. one of Grandma's friends was from The New Building, which, despite being... over five years old? ... is still regarded with some suspicion.
Saw a few good dogs! including a ridiculously tiny very small silky black dog that lives at reception after someone apparently abandoned it outside :(
Also saw a lot of my aunt and uncle, and their dog who is very enthusiastic and amazing. And one day went to NYC with my cousin who lives there and went to the Whitney art museum and then wandered a bit. (A very small bit according to the map, heh.)
I'm not sure what day it is now -- I was really really sad getting into the car leaving, then I snoozed and that covered it over a bit. This is a very disjointed entry, of course.
Films! I saw on the plane:
- Mad Max (finally! it was, indeed, so very good. after 15 minutes of ??what is going on?? I just got so into it, though I still don't know most people's names.)
- Inside Out (also! so! good! I cried.)
- and I saw that Frozen short. D'awww. Nothing bad happened, it was cute. Elsa being this most super-devoted and loving sister..
- I also started watching Cinderella, just for fun, on the way out, and finished it on the way back and, eh, actually it was quite lovely. Also Cinderella/Lily James was really beautiful oh my gosh. (also! ahaha, all the
sex facesintense expressions when the Prince touched her back or, yep, her feet. There was a lot of foot stuff in the story so I guess they just went with it ^^)
- And watched The Age of Adaline! Which was... in the end kind of surprisingly slight and simple, but I liked it. (Aaand I cried, but only because of the bit with her dog, dogs getting old and sick is sad.)
I'm doing a (very quick little) setting for choir of Katherine Phillips To my Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship :) The words are so delicious! I mean, the sort of extreme superlatives that normally maybe put me off in love poetry, but ehh I like it here, and I think it'll work really nicely sung :)
For thou art all that I can prize / My Joy, my Life, my Rest /
now to work.
I had a major case of that bad-dream-puts-you-in-bad-mood thing this morning, sheesh! I don't quite remember what it was about, something with (haha) being at some big event and not wanting to be/feeling ill/having to get stuff done, plus it was really sad too for some reason. I was just exhausted by the time I was awake!
And yesterday and day before I did q. a bit of baking -- just cake/bread/cookies and not taking ages on anything fancy so that was quite nice.
I actually really do like the middle of the week when I have potentially almost three solid days and can literally stay here and see no one and get on with stuff.... (or, as has happened in weeks gone by, decided that I need suddenly to: learn ao3 skin coding / tidy EVERYTHING / rediscover warcraft III or shareware games from my childhood...........)
Today so far been working on the score and logic audio mock up of the second part of this strings thing (same one as last term -- only the second movement really, so far, sadly. It is kinda maybe twice as long as it was though!) And, um, now I'm half thinking it's all rubbish again and I really don't want it to be because arghh this is all I have to show for myself and I need to show my tutor!! so I don't want it to be rubbish! (By even my own definition, I mean.)
Hm, but this was meant to be a fairly positive turn of events, point being I have 8m30 / 10 pages / 150+ bars of something, and I was able to work on it. (It's nearly half term and I haven't had a meeting yet -- this is my worry.)
Not sure how to think clearly and identify / actually work on the things in music ...... that, and/or to get back to that mythic state where I just wrote music without stopping to overthink all the time. I think that did used to happen and I'm not just being nostalgic!
also tidied up more - my parents are bringing a record cabinet/bookshelf from their clearout which will be nice and I've made space - we really have too much stuff though! Also I guess I am still totally procrastinating, ugh.
played violin and oboe today -- speaking of: Vivaldi, lol, this is supposed to be an oboe piece right? not a violin with a nice rocking-bow flddling technique? do you MIND? Eh, it's fun! I shall get there! This piece. I've just barely started.
Some problems/lots-to-organise things around and abouts...
( Read more... )
Anyway, to update quickly on how that's going. I'm trying to be positive at least about the fact that I actually went for a run today which I hadn't since, like, before I left for Edinburgh. And if I didn't go more than 3-some k (not sure, but I'm pretty sure there's 2k marker I use that I hadn't passed, unless it's been rubbed out, so that would have been the 4) and even *gasp* walked for a bit in the middle, that's okay because I'm getting back into it and I do know from experience I can get much better if I keep it up. Also made some headway on the piano Plan and as I said before enjoying the violin greatly. Sent some emails but unfortunately they were replied to quickly and I now have MORE emails.
Finally got around to planning for the lesson I'm teaching later which... again is good, but of course it took up a lot more time than would be ideal. Sooooo, since being in Bristol I haven't really touched any real music Work beyond writing up the notes I got at my last supervision last term.
Have to meet up with about three sets of people this week, not all of whom are being communicative, and that's going to mess up my Plan! *grumbly noises*
Also going to have a really good go at organising food better again, and cooking at least half the time so we can have leftovers. So, this week we had tomato & butterbean soup yesterday (SOUP SEASON! hallelujah!), and we're going to have cannelloni tomorrow or the next day, aaaand I've lost my bit of paper that said what we are having Thursday.
Aaand Xana and I are watching Steven Universe again. We're somewhere near the end of the first season I think. I really like it -- remember watching the very first episode (or 2?) and being like "....this is kind of cute but WHAT is it it's also kind of awkward??" but now it's gotten really good. I think Lion is my favourite ^^ Also it's doing this thing not so much as "light plot now and then" as "MASSIVE HUGE AND EPIC PLOT now and then". I just really like when cartoons spend about 30 seconds on Serious/Emotional Issues and it's very lovely or intense -- as opposed to a live action show with 50 minutes to fill spending like half that time making the same point.
Singing lesson and choir later ... not really in the mood (I'm in charge ^^) but as ever I know I'm quite often like that and it's fine or even really exciting in the event.
A Place of Greater Safety is being adapted on the radio! I'm ....... actually not sure what I think of it so far -- would be interested to see if anyone who hasn't read the book is following! They seem to have aged-up (mentally & socially anyway?) Lucile quite a bit and made Annette less alluring and more ineffective and flapping by comparison, but maybe I'm remembering the book wrong. Frequent R4 problem that a lot of the guys sound reeeally similar ahhh I could not tell which was Camille for too long ;;
It's uh. Quite ambitious though, they mostly came from the abrsm diploma list (...just... in case? or, nah, just because this is a good list of repertoire at a level I theoretically have been able to aim for for the last 10 years or so since grade 8!)
- Haydn: Sonata no. 59 in Eb
- Beethoven: Sonata 'Pathétique' (I mean, I've theoretically been attempting bits of this all year but as I say, I think I need to focus to get it down...)
- Szymanowski: Étude no. 3 in Bb (UMM SO PRETTY. and sdfsdf I've just spent hours on the first 15 bars whoa.)
- Gershwin: I Got Rhythm, Songbook version
- Janáček: mvt 1 from In The Mists or possibly Janáček - Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 ("From the Street") (..someday)
- Stravinsky: Tango (how fun does this sound? looking forward to this.)
There were such a lot of violinists in various things in Edinburgh as well so I'm mad keen to get on that and been playing quite a lot in the few days since I've been back. I have a book of how-to flddling style now! Yes I probably should get some personal advice and make sure I'm moving right, I wonder if I'm doing something I shouldn't with my shoulder. But I think I'm sounding a lot better!
Also the corresponding oboe list which I admit I haven't started playing yet though I have printed stuff out.........
- Vivaldi: Concerto in A minor, RV 461
- Nielsen: 2 Fantasiestucke, Op.2
Britten: (some of) 6 Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe, Op.49
Today a quick one in the first vein -- I've been in this wind quintet (just meeting to play through things, not performing or anything), taking over from their old oboist, for a while and the last few practices have been q. good actually. I've been q. good in them, is more the wonder. (I mean, only q. good, but definitely better than I feared and better now I've got reeds I like and my oboe fixed! Still should, you know, practise.)
Anyway. I was saying I needed to actually keep up my playing. I think I put most time and effort into violin these days!
I was thinking I should get back into writing this journal, or some journal. I mean, I was thinking this a few times over the last while and generally it's been when I'm in that other "um I'm really not doing very well" mode.
I've been ... thinking about thinking ! You know. Thinking about wondering about why this is, like I've noticed that it's slipped into being years since I slipped out of the time when I was rejoicing in being this much more positive and free-feeling person (than I had been before that, I guess.) Hm, it's probably not so much about analysing how I've been for years and years ago because I'm probably not remembering that all right, but. Keeping track. I started a big long rant, or something, about this on my kindle of all things.
I sort of feel like I need some extreme structure for this, like otherwise -- how to stop and where to start?
So if I start posting weirdly formulaic or inconsistent things, or lists or narrating my life in the third person or whatever, that's why.
But still. I'm kind of. Surprised at myself. Heh. I can move onto the Thursday songs, which I think I totally will be doing, while I write up and stuff.
And I've blocked tumblr all day soo I can't even go on that now I've got a spare few minutes ^^ Off to various choir-y things now. Haven't really played what I'm teaching this evening so I'll have to do that when I get there.
It's raining and I'm feeling pretty bla about doing anything.........
He had been blind and deaf
for a moment,
and then seen, the smoke clearing,
the broken windows and the bleeding faces.
After that he went about as usual—
quiet, courteous, rather gentle;
but there was a spot on his mind
that was not sane.
( Read more... )
Yesterday we had our occasional postgrad composer's informal meetup and sat around talking about things for a couple hours in the end. Trying to get down what it is I feel about all this! I feel like... I don't really especially relate to any of their music or ways of thinking about things, but it's interesting to talk. When we're just talking about it all I feel like I'm okay and at their level -- I still the rest of the time worry that everyone thinks my music is just facile and silly... well, that wouldn't matter, because I'm getting more sure again that I like what I'm doing... if only (the other worry) I could be sure that I'm not in fact doing nowhere near enough work or directed work or things that aren't appropriate for a PhD etcetera, etcetera.
Talked to my supervisor the day before that and when I said vaguely that I was thinking about piano pieces after this but that I basically don't know how to write long pieces for piano, he said, Well you don't have to -- and you don't tend to write long pieces at all, do you? Which... It's the same again, it's a nice liberating thought but not completely. I definitely do like short things. Definitely. That's a large part of what I do. I do also like (other people's) longer pieces. But really, only sometimes! Not actually all that often! Quite often I'm just, No now I'm bored do something else. Short attention span. Sooo... Well, the other thing was the comparison: it's like some people paint watercolours and some people do big sculptures, and that's how it is.... of course, ideally maybe one is able to do both...
I can't help feeling there is a tiny bit of a slur implied in 'watercolourist'............
Also some of this connects up in my head with "being a female composer". Not in terms of actually how I compose, at all; that's what no one at the meeting understood when I brought it up. But you can't not think about reception, even if I think about it less than them, maybe (they said they couldn't imagine writing pieces just "for the drawer" and I do like just writing pieces and it's a valuable finished thing even if it doesn't get performed). And I know it shouldn't be a thing Nowadays that people think about. But. I'm sorry but I think people reading about a female composer writing small and delicate piano pieces vs a male one..... (Well, such as Knussen! And people I think make a thing of that, Oh look at this big bumbling guy with a big beardy face and pleasant manner writing these tiny frosty gems... We can't get away from the connection between the writer and the work, and I don't really think I'd want to -- certainly with dead and gone composers I like finding out about their lives and getting to know and like them, it helps!) Anyway, I'm not sure what I think about that, if anything.
Haha! I have written down some of my Thoughts. Good.
The other thing is I'm really liking Poulenc's Sept Chansons, speaking as we were of tiny perfectly formed things. And I'm thinking about doing more SATB settings ......... maaaaybe of other bits of prose from The Man Who Was Thursday, if I can find other bits that work.
Setting poems! The options are old out-of-copyright, and much it really SOUNDS old, which is not always what I want (not all!), or as I'm discovering, applying for permissions etcetera and yeah I'm going to avoid famous 20th C poets in future, much as I may love them. But there might be something in this setting of non-poems, or playing about with texts.