Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I am once again sick.

and i hate, with a burning passion, all things that are viral in this world.

Debussy is comforting me today. I have always loved those languid and unresolving augmented chords in Nuages, but they seem all the more poignant in times when everything sucks and your head hurts. I couldnt really do much but sit with a fever and listen to debussy....i couldnt read because my headache, so the music was all i had for comfort, but it worked well. I hear that my two favorites, the above mentioned mr. D and his friend mr. R, are not as favored here in france as they are elsewhere. I think the academics still prefer d'indy, franck and saint saens.

pretty sad. Also, there are no pianos here, making m. keiser very grouchy. Pianos make me a happier person, and i'd have to audition to get into the conservatory to take a class to get to a piano (which i dont want to do anyway) but i cant do that because id have to learn or relearn something on a non-existant piano, thus i'd have to have a piano to get a piano. No piano, so, life sucks.

Friday, September 22, 2006

correction: the line from berio's symphonia is "i must have said this before since i say it now" which is said, of course, two times. the first time false, the second time true. "well so there is an audience!" and what would post-modernism be if it didnt address the audience directly.

It is disappointing to report from this land of berlioz and boulez that the modernist "grande homme" mentality towards art and classical music is still very strong here. classical music is much higher here, much loftier, much worse off. I heard a new piece of "contemporary" music here recently. Some violin concerto, which could have easily been written in 1940. extended tonality, passages of atonality, vaguely romantic and absolutely, fucking academic. Cadenzas et al.


It was built, still under that old modernist assumption that a lack of repetition forces the audience do more thinking, that its much more high-minded to minimalize the repetition of note patterns, of which only the opposite is true. it was built with the idea that there was something more to be said in a 300 year old formula and a 200 year old orchestra.... There is not.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I must have said it before if i say it now

....that I fucking love berio's Symphonia. The energetic movements that frame the work leave me speachless, literally. i have no idea what to write right now.

Alex Ross mentioned in his lecture that this work, particularly the collage-music middle movement, is a great example of post-modernism in music. That post-modern tendency towards quotation for reference and disorientation- and the playfulness of it, is pomo-infused, but it is more than pomo, and at the same time, beyond definition. By the way, there is a waiter here in nantes who looks amazingly similar to the new yorker-lecturer himself. i can only say this with a small degree of certainty since i have met alex ross.

but Berio puts my poor spam songs to shame. Oh my poor, languishing spam songs. they sit there in the states, neglected, unfinished and unperformed. I really want to hear the first one performed before i die. Just the part about penis enlargement patches, thats all, thats all. its not much to ask of a soprano, right?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Im In nantes

... and blogger is currently in french. I spent the last two days on the coast in Bretagne and built a pretty sweet sandcastle. Pictures may come at some point, but probably not too soon. Had fun with friends. it was actually pretty strange, right now and earlier this week when i met up with the "nantais" group (read: american students) because i havent been surrounded by so much english since i left the states. I have a nice dorm room, single person with a bathroom, but internet access is not often available in the building and certainly not available in my room. It was very warm here the first few days. French food IS better -the French seem to have higher food standards. My laptop monitor has not faired so well on this trip, and i have to buy a seperate monitor to hook it up... meaning, i have no idea when i can post pictures again. France is a beautiful country and Nantes is quite attractive.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Im in paris

...and already missing the french alps. Granted, paris is wonderful. I tried to go into the madeline where saint-saens played the organ, but no...closed. I dont like saint-saens that much anyway. I've discovered that St. Etienne and St. Eustache are my favorite churches in this city. Notre dame is FILLED with tourists while other, equally beautiful structures remain untouristy. Yesterday i spent most of the time in the Louvre, where i saw delecroix's portrait of chopin. I passed by the opera where there are golden busts of haydn, bach, mozart, meyerbeer and a whole lot of composers who i've never heard of. Old and forgotten opera composers, i assume. When i was in grenoble i saw a large bronze statue of Berlioz. They seem to put these men on rather lofty pedistals. Or they did, probably not anymore... which is probably for the best. I love the music of bach, berlioz and others but im not a fan of western cultures habit of deifying musicians and artists. Sure they did great work, but the man who developed a faster-growing speicies of rice, he saved untold numbers from starvation. The engineers of the world who developed and built our actual infrastructure, our sewers and our bridges. These people are more worthy of praise in my opinion. Sure art humanizes- but there are practicalities that are overlooked here, always overlooked. How many famous engineers can you name? how many famous inventors? I dont like deifying on either side, im just saying that there is no injustice in the lower cultural standing of these composers. Dont get me started on pop-culture. Why celbrities make more money than nurses baffles me.

am i going to make enemies this way?

sorry no pictures, im using a different computer, one currently without pictures.