January 2007

Breakfast.

January 30, 2007 14:37

Photo
LE PETIT-DÈJEUNER: Left to right: Hot Mama Pancake Colleen, Joshua Bell, Gorgeous Crêpe Daddy Sydney.

I'm innocent.

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A thriller about a luthier,a stolen violin, and Count Cozio just didn't seem possible

January 26, 2007 09:12

I have recently discovered the wonderful world of Violin Fiction. I don't know why didn't discover it earlier... I suppose I just didn't think many authors wrote fiction books on the subject. To my surprise, there were actually quite a few in the library's catalog. (Waiting for Terez Mertes to join the list!) I picked three and went on the search to find them on the shelf. :) They were all there.

Mountain Solo wasn't the type of book I usually read--there was no mention about a theft, a death, or a unicorn-- but the violin bow on the cover had caught my eye. The prologue, titled 'My Grand Debut' was about a girl messing up her German debut big time. Not bad for a book with 'Mountain' in the title. I took it as a reason to keep reading.

306 pages later, I concluded that it was just another one of those novels with the intention of being inspiring to the reader. However, had this book been about anything but a young violinist, I may have not continued beyond the first five chapters. The sections about Tess(ie) getting her first violin, getting lessons, and her troubles were enough to make this a brilliant book. Why the author felt that she had to tie in a chopped-up story about a fiddler who lived in pioneer county is beyond me. No plot, no point, no connection, (unless you count the single violin peg buried in the sand.) Cute, but irrelevant. It just would have been a better book without the excess chapters buried in it.

After Mountain Solo, I pro(retro)gressed to a thin book called the Black Violin. Set during the Napoleon Wars, it wished to convey the connection between the violin and love. Never have I read a blander book. At least in Mountain Solo, there had been sections where the violin teacher gave good advice and sections where the main character's love-hate relationship with the violin really shined through. The Black Violin is one of the what I call el-cheapo books.

The last book I picked up during my trip to the library was by far the best book out of the three. Paul Adam is a genius and I love him for it. The Rainaldi Quartet (published as 'Sleeper' in Britain) is one of the best mystery books I have ever read. Yes, it is a *thriller* about the violin. It starts with four men-- a priest, a well-known luthier, a police-man, and a former La Scala violinist/not-yet-well-established violin-maker-- meeting to play string quartets in the city of, get this, Cremona, Italy! That night, as the quartet disperses, Tomaso Rainaldi is murdered. Why? (This is sublime/hilarious/outrageous/great.) Because he was hot on the trail of a 1716 Strad, one is perfect condition, the sister of the Messiah.

You can call the author nuts, but I say he did a heck of a job with creating a violin-mystery even the non-musician would love. Maybe his plot is a little too far-fetched for some, but as insane as it is, Adam does a good job with intertwining it with history. He goes back in history and follows the events of Cozio and Tarisio, of Paolo Stradivari, and even of Vuillaume. Paul Adam assumes the read knows nothing and shares the legend of the Messiah and the missing Sphor Del Gesu. About half way through the book, another violin-dealer is murdered and a Maggini is stolen out of a room filled with rarer violins by Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri. Violin auctions, fake violins, English food, the sites of Italy, a crazy woman with cats, and a unscrupulous violin dealer all join the action in the Rainaldi Quartet. Highly entertaining, definitely well-researched, and just plain fascinating. A must-read. xD Some pretty wise information too.

"Whatever you are doing, no matter how busy you are, you must always find time in your day for Bach." (Page 34)

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71/2 Cents might not buy a heck of a lot, but it's enough for the UPS man to come

January 12, 2007 14:50

Homework for Friday, January 12th, 2007
Write about the most exciting thing that happened to you this week.

Well, let's see. There's the essays, and the homework, and the projects, and the rehearsals, and the wakey-wakey-at-5-AMs. I for one, need my sleep.

I was on the verge of deeming the essay hopeless when IT happened. Yes. It couldn't be. But it was. YEAH MAN, 'twas the UPS truck pulling up to my driveway!

Call me crazy if you please. But I was really happy that the two books I ordered about science and math were in. (Did I mention that they're my least favorite subjects?)

I've read my fair share of books on violinists, but not nearly enough on how and the why of 'music'. So I took it to myself to order two books on the more behind-the-scene. Okay, call me crazy again. Math and Music? Science and Music? Why spend Sunday afternoon reading that instead of say, Agatha Christie? Well, for one thing, I love confusing people.(Refraction of sound and complicated curves anyone?) I also feel that learning how and why different pitches occur will help me a lot, both on the violin and in physics next year. ;) It's not easy reading, but I feel I can handle it. (Besides, maybe I'll understand Bill better when he gets ll Pythagoreanish.)

On other note, I'm playing violin for the school musical, The Pajama Game. It's my first musical and boy, do I have a lot of experience to gain! The first rehearsal was a lot of fun (but scary!), as the entire pit orchestra was trying to sightread the parts. My mouth must have dropped six inches when I first saw the music. The score is hand written (even though it is rented?) and there are at least three key changes on every page! The violin part is at least 100 pages long, though most of it reiterates earlier pages. The first question I asked when I saw the music was, "Where the heck is the key signature?" Apparently, the key signature (or time signature) is not loved, for it appears only when keys are changed... which is, about every four lines or so. When you forget how many sharps or flats there are, there's nowhere to check. Don't even mention cut time. It's hilarious when half the orchestra is playing twice as fast as the other half.

All the swingy and jazzy rhythms were also hard to get used to. ("Swing those notes." Me: What?) Some of the terms and notation were new to me. For example: I didn't know what a 'vamp' was! (This left my stand-partner in utter shock.)The single sentence spoken by my conductor described my shock well enough: "This is Broadway, and you're expecting Mozart!"

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