September 2004

September 28, 2004 10:10

I'm feeling in a bit of a blogging mood today!

School...yay, we are done with the Iliad! As interesting as it was to study the Iliad and Greek mythology as well as other kinds of mythology, I was starting to get a little drained of reading and memorising it all. We had a quiz on the Iliad yesterday in school. It was a fairly high marking quiz and the results from it go towards my grade percentage. I'm pretty sure I got all but one or two questions right. Yay! It's fun having to write and respond to things in my AP class and give ideas and reasons why we react the way we do or what significance that thing/item has to us. Now that we are done with the Iliad we are working on a Plato essay, Allegory of the Cave. I have to study a bit for another AP word quiz first today, but I'll finish and annotate the essay sometime later today. It's an interesting concept and it was fun to discuss it in class yesterday. I also need to cram in math today sometime...hmm....

Today I've only practiced a bit on viola so far. I'm performing part of the Arppegione Sonata at the end of October and I still haven't seriously worked through it all so that I can smoothly jump from alto to treble clef. It's a great sonata! I'm having a blast playing it. It lends itself to so much tugging and pulling around of tempos by means of rubato. I'm feeling really great about my progress on the C major Largo on violin (well all my pieces for that matter!) and I'm going to ask tomorrow if I would be overstepping my bounds to play that along with the Schubert at the recital. I'd really like to start performing it as often as I can to be really comfortable with it come the exam. The Barber concerto. Wow! What a fun piece, but so many different things you can do with it according to how you want it to sound. I've listened to Jasper Wood, Gil Shaham, Robert McDuffie, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Hilary Hahn, James Ehnes and a couple of other people play it and I can't belive just how different each recording is! Sonnenberg takes the first movement with a relatively slow tempo and uses lots of rubato where as Jasper Wood seems to give this feeling of urgency, always pushing forward, having you anticipate what's coming and at the same time taking some liberty with the time in spots. Hahn and McDuffie have the fastest last movements, but I find the musicality in Sonnenberg's and Wood's recordings to be much more appealing, even at their "slow" tempo. It's such an individual piece and I'm having a lot of fun learning it and infusing my own ideas and trying out different things to see how I like the tone colors and string qualities.

Now that I've hopefully made someones day a little less boring, I must return to practicing, or school, or something more constructive then a computer screen damaging my brain cells.

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September 24, 2004 11:37

Practicing. It's amazing how much harder I focus when I am at school and when I practice I know that I don't have several hours at my disposal to "get around" to practicing. I have a new set of repertoire picked out for my grade 10 exam. The past year and a half I have spent ploughing through repertoire from the grade 10 and ARCT lists, which has been great, I've been stretched and really have improved my playing a lot between all the repertoire I've covered and playing in the symphony and having those programs to focus on learning for short periods of time. My new repertoire for the exam that is officiall decided on is as follows:
Barber violin concerto (1st and 2nd mvt.)
Beethoven Sonata No. 8
Robinovitch, Adieu Babylon (with Vitali Ciaccona or the Eckhardt-Gramatte Caprice as a back up should I not be able to memorise it in time)
Bach C major solo sonata, Largo
Tchaikovsky 4 symphony excerpts
Prokofieff Romeo and Juilliete Suite excerpts
I'll pick an etude later
then there is sightreading, ear training and almost every technical thing in the book. *jumps for joy* (not)

I'm looking forward to the recital part of the exam, which I always enjoy doing. It is a bit intimidating with an examiner sitting there writing the whole time, but I like being able to just play through a program like that, it makes it feel like a concert, even if the only audience is the person with the scores and pen and paper in front of him or her.

School has been an interesting experience. I'm starting to catch onto some of the German stuff more, the entire last class was spent on "das, die, der" and what forms of it you use, when and how to know which is the appropiate one to use. My English AP class is really really awesome! It's a class that is never boring or dull. It's a challenge and has us all thinking a lot. The class is full of humour and I have yet to have not laughed a significant amount while in that class. We have AP word quizzes almost every class, which have been a huge challenge for me, especially having never been in the school setting before this year, so my first few quizzes were pretty sad, but the last two felt a lot better, and the marks are getting better. I was hoping that we'd have to give examples of Euphemism on yesterdays quiz, and we did, so I used "spontaneous energetic disassembly = explosion" I thought it was a good one to use. It's a great class though, we discuss a lot of really intriuging topics and have to do a lot of thinking about how certain things stand out to us and be able to put it into words on paper.

Back to practicing now....

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September 10, 2004 10:59

OUCH! I'm sore. Very sore. Sitting in school all morning, carting around textbooks to classes, sitting in the car for over an hour, sitting in rehearsals for several more hours, sitting at dinner, sitting for yet more rehearsals, sitting for the 80 minute drive home, finally I got to stand up for a bit!

Sitting down I get rather sore from doing for so long. On first day of rehearsals it wasn't so bad as I hadn't had school in the morning and I went for a long walk on our extra long dinner break and then went to the gym for a bit. It felt good to sit down after doing some weights and biking and strechting. Only three more days of all this orchestra stuff though!

Last nights rehearsal was spent entirely on the Rautavaara Cantus Arcticus (concerto for birds and orchestra) which I was extremely thankful for some earplugs I had left in my violin case from the last time that I had needed them for a concert. Something abouts really louds remotely bird-like sounds blaring out into your ear for 20 minutes, while you only get to play for about 8 minutes of the entire piece is rather annoying. The piece sounds cool, but the birds become a bit much when you are on stage having to count these weird bars that don't match half of the orchestra. Violins might be in 4/2 while the clarinets are in 3/4 and the other players also in different, strange time signatures. One thing for sure, don't ever take the down beat of the conductor, cause it's unlikely that it's your down beat, unless he's told you in a specific spot he'll give you the bar. It's a really wild piece. The wind players have an amazingly difficult part and I sat last night in awe of how they could do some of those intricate arppegiated, yet very chromatic figures with such speed and ease while not being influenced by what the person sitting next to him/her was doing.

The afternoon rehearsal was filled with the sounds of Beethoven's 5th symphony. Oh yeah. And a dog. We rehearse in the concert halls rehearsal room which opens out by the police station. We were working on a triplet passage in the final movement and the conductor was trying to get us to do something a bit different, so he stopped and explained what he wanted and went to cue us in, the police dog by the open rehearsal door barked it perfectly. *bark bark bark baarrrkkk* It was hilarious! The whole orchestra was rolling in laughter for a good few minutes! I'm having a lot of fun playing Beethoven's 5th. It's much funner to play then it is to listen to, I think the audience will like it!

Today the cello soloist is coming, I belive, and we will be rehearsing the Tchaikovsky Variations on a Roccoco Theme. We haven't rehearsed it yet in the orchestra and I'm not very familiar with the work, so I'm looking forward to hearing it finally! Hopefully no earplugs will be required....

Out of orchestra tradition with this orchestra, we have an encore piece. The ever so popular Pizzicato Polka. We are playing it guitar style, which will be fun! Allows us to move around a bit while we play, which was kind of funny to see everyone doing in rehearsals, but I think the audience will like it!

School yesterday was interesting. I came out of German class trying to speak English again without that harshness in my voice. It took me awhile! Ah, the joys of learning another langauge. I saw the wizard guy again at school, he has a cape now too with a purple embellished "V" on the back. I spent some time in the study lounge, which had I not had a walkman along I would not have been too likely to have gotten much studying done. English class was fun. We had to interview another person in our class then write a paragraph on that person as well as work on our "dialectical" journals and anotating an essay to comment on in our journals. Speaking of school. I have an hour yet before I need to leave for rehearsals, so I think I might go and do some more school. :)

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September 8, 2004 08:52

Mainting my blog.

Today is September 8th. I've had my first day in a public highschool. It was interesting to say the least. There was one guy I saw who I'm sure thinks he's a wizard. He had very ornate and colorful makeup on, that appeared to have taken hours, and his outfit was rather peculiar. A sparkly black, netted type dress along with a heavy black coat. I knew there would be strange people at school, but this topped the strangeness charts for my first day! I've discovered that when you attend a highschool that covers a nice chunk of land and has three floors on some of the buildings and far too many students for the size of the buildings, if you have any hope of making it to class on time you just have to plow. No excuse me's, or waiting for the people in front of you to move...just plough your way through the throngs of people. To make things more confusing, based on where my locker is situated I will have literally no use for a locker because there hardly is enough time to get from the basement of one building to the 3rd floor of the ajoining building and have time to walk across a bit parking lot, up a flight of stairs and down a really long hallway to my locker then back in between to get textbooks. hmm.... Oh's a good place for my box of granola bars at the moment!

Playing. Well today (I leave in 15 minutes) I start rehearsals for this weekends concerts. Beethoven 5 is pretty much securely down and I'm not terribly worried about it. The Rautavaara is certaintly an interesting piece and I'm very much looking forward to hearing how it sounds with the full orchestra and hearing how the dissonances of the cluster chords sound when spread through-out an entire orchestra. It will be nice to be back to some orchestral playing/performing and getting to see some friends and mentors that I haven't seen for awhile.

For solo playing, I've been pretty absorbed in the orchestra music the past few days, since I was away for a couple of days and my violin and I had a two day hiatus from each other. I have, however, managed to cram in a bit of time for my solo stuff. I've worked a bunch on my vibrato, which I'm thankfully starting to notice improvement on and feeling more relaxed and un-forced then I've ever felt before when doing it. So this is a good thing! I'm also starting to get more consistent with my tenths, which have been a hard thing for me. I've picked a couple of study/etude/caprices that have tenths in them to help with them. At first I kept over stretching and getting and eleventh, but not I'm starting to gauge my stretch and hear the interval in my head before playing, and it's helping a great deal!

I should go and get packed up for the day! It's going to be a long one. :)

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September 3, 2004 10:30

September 3rd. My gosh! Wowsers! Fall! Yay! I love the weather here now. Just nice and cool. It feels good to be putting a sweater on. Soon all the leaves will start to turn pretty colors and fall on the ground. The smell of fall here is really great. There's a crispness in the air that I just love about here.

Yesterday was a busy day. I went into fairly early in the morning to town to do some shopping and watch a friend of mine compete at the senior's games. I spent the day coming and going from my Grandparent's place. I took my violin along so I could do some practicing, which proved to be at least somewhat productive in between everything else I did yesterday.

In the morning I walked over to see my friend compete at the Senior Games which she did awesome at! Winning all the events I saw her in! She did a wonderful job and it was fun to get to go and watch her. I enjoyed the walk to and from the track where that part of the games was being held at. It was so nice and refreshing, despite the rain.

Another thing I did yesterday. School shopping. That was something new for me. I have never had to go school shopping before as I've been homeschooled since I was just little. I was very pleased with myself. Took me a whole 5 minutes to pick out enough binders, pens, pencils, note pads and granola bars (for my locker) and it all came to under 6 dollars...that's my kind of shopping! Starting school will be interesting. I would be lying to say I'm not just a little nervous. I've had a couple rather bizarre dreams about this whole school thing and sadly I don't think I'll be having that sofa in English class like in my dream....*sigh* I can dream right though?

Beethoven's 5th Symphony. I cannot say enough about that piece other then that the last movement definetly is going to be a challenge. It's actually a pretty fun symphony overall. The second violin part is somewhat melodic in some areas and by no means is it a boring part. It keeps you on your toes in some spots. It's going to be fun to put together with the orchestra next week. The first movement is completely 15 notches above tempo so I'm not too worried about my ability to play that. the second movement is fine and the last two movements are coming along very nicely. When I looked at the score for the first time I was a little confused because I could only see three movements and what looked like the 4th movement, but with no 4th movement tempo heading. When I put the recording on to hear (can you belive I don't actually own a recording of Beethoven's 5th? I just found one on the net) to make sure I wasn't losing it, I noticed that there had been a score edit job done that cut off the tempo of the 4th movement, but the attaca from the 3rd into the 4th movement was there. The other pieces on the program, Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus and Tchaikovsky's Variation's
and a Roccoco theme aren't too hard. I haven't worked much on the Tchaikovsky but I still have until Wednesday before rehearsals start and the Rautavaara I've worked out all the tricky spots and awkward harmonies in the shifting. It's split up so much too that I won't know the line of some of the divisi stuff that I will be playing until I know which desk/seating number I am. Neat piece though!

In other interesting news. I'll be getting my driver's license at the end of this month or early next month. I've decided to get it pretty soon so I can start on that long one year wait before I can actually drive with other people in the veichle aside from just the over 25 class 5 licensed driver.

I sadly haven't done too much viola playing lately but after next weekends symphony tour I'll dig that out again. I was starting to make some real progress on the Schubert Sonata and Bach Suite. I really like both of those pieces and am having a lot of fun with them. I've been doing a fair amount of harmony work in preparation for my grade 4 harmony exam which is proving to be tedious. Why is it that in the baroque era they didn't like the medeival sound of parallel 5ths? Yet, you can break that rule in certain situations and when there are parallel 5ths and the one in the middle is a diminished 5th as opposed to a perfect 5th that makes it no longer a parallel 5th...*sigh* anyways! I need to make some lunch!

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