Paris Trip - Musical Reflection

July 24, 2017, 4:14 PM · A little over a week ago, I returned from my 5-week trip to Paris! What an experience it was - the music I composed, the adventures I had, the museums we visited, the culture we experienced... All of it added up to create a truly wonderful experience that I am very glad to have had. Just like I did for Vienna last summer, and Italy in 2015, I'm going to focus on my musical journey through the city.

I didn't actually go to very many concerts in Paris. We were always having group dinners or I was taking long evening walks. However, I saw a couple masses with monophonic chant, a Chopin piano recital that was outdoors at a park, a fusion African/pop concert, and a jazz club one night. (On the way to the fusion concert, I did hear a violinist practicing.) These concerts were all great, but none of them really got me extremely excited - I loved going to the jazz club, but the music itself wasn't completely my taste (the modern jazz - I prefer '20s jazz).

In addition to concerts, we also went to a music shop, where I got the score to Maurice Ravel's last song cycle, Don Quichotte. I saw plenty of other scores at the shop - a whole section for violin repertoire, opera scores, and concerti. It was a really cool shop, and I loved looking at all this music.

We took a day-trip to Brussels as well, and the exciting thing about this trip (once we had our fill of Belgian waffles and fries) was the music museum we went to! There were several original Adolf Sax saxophones, as well as the only luthéal in the world - a short-lived piano attachment that added different effects to the piano that Ravel used in "Tzigane", which I was talking about last month before the trip on this blog, and "L'Enfant et les Sortileges". There were several violins there of course, ranging from early viols to a violin by Georges Palate, made in 1803. (Actually, it looks kind of like my violin from 2007!) Seeing some ocarinas and other older instruments was also very neat.

Speaking of museums, there were a couple museums that mentioned Erik Satie. We actually studied his ballet "Parade" for the music potion of the class, and we studied Pablo Picasso for the English portion. When we visited a Picasso museum, downstairs "Parade" was playing, with a video of the ballet and information on the piece. Later, at a museum dedicated to the most recent art (1967-2017), there was a whole section on Satie and condensed scores open in a glass casing. Very cool!

Finally, of course, besides our in-class listening list, I had my own personal composing. Essentially, I worked on three pieces there. One was a viola sonatine for viola and piano, which I was busy composing while discovering the incredible Luxembourg Garden! That area is incredibly cool to me because the Philharmonia Orchestra did a video for their City of Light series about French composers while filming there. That piece is pretty much finished - aside from some minor smoothing over of some parts, I will get it to my friend to play for her Solo and Ensemble festival for high school - remember me talking about that a few years ago? The second piece is a giant harp sonata that I've worked in a whole scenario for, so it could be like a ballet if I orchestrate it. I plan on orchestrating some of it for the orchestra composition contest we will start off the school year with. That's not finished, and I probably won't fully finish it this summer. The main work I'm going to be working on this summer (besides, rather exciting I must admit, beginning a film score for Shark Syndrome!) is a Concerto for Trombone, Piano, and Surprise Orchestra. I won't go into too many details now till it's finished, but I did many of my initial sketches at the end of the trip, working in cafés, which, of course, has always been my dream since 2012 - composing music in a Parisian café! I'm so glad that has finally come to life, and a few wonderful pieces of music should come out of it. I'm excited to share these pieces on my website and this blog in the coming months!

I think that's about it - I had more to say than I thought. Paris truly was a wonderful experience, and I couldn't be happier that I went. I feel so lucky to have traveled around Europe so much during the past few years. Hopefully I'll be able to make it to more places in the world I really want to visit sometime later in life, but for now, I have so many great Paris memories and music that will surely keep me engaged for a long time to come. Hope you enjoyed this little post on my trip! Thanks for reading.

My other trips -
Italy (2015)
Germany/Austria (2016)


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