Thursday, March 29, 2007
I am giving my senior recital in the middle of April so maybe I'll have some witty insights about program arranging and writing then...
the good news is that the career adviser thinks that I'll have no trouble finding a job next year if being wait listed doesn't work out! (hooray I wasn't rejected everywhere!)
as it is I'm trying to decide what courses I'm going to stay in this quarter. I have two that I'm unsure about...one because it is being taught by a 5th year doctoral student...and while I know he'll be fine, I just don't know if that's how I want to close out my my tenure here. The other because it culminates with a 15-18 page paper...and honestly how motivated am I going to be...2 weeks from graduating needing to write this paper. But the class is on The Idiot, by Doestyevski who is awesome.
so that was too much just blogging about my life and too little musing about philosophy and music...hopefully I'll get back on track soon
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
I'm here with my school choir singing for a week. We don't have a crazy strenuous schedule thoug and we should get to enjoy the city.
This has been a cool couple of months. I got to explore New York City, visit LA, Housten and now San Francisco.
I really do like traveling in the end, seeing new places is always exciting and meeting new people or sharing experiences with people you've known but havn't spent very musch time with is tremendous.
see you when I've returned I suppose!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
How to cook a conductor
One large conductor, or two small assistant conductors
26 large garlic cloves
Crisco or other solid vegetable shortening (lard may be used)
1 cask cheap wine
1 lb. alfalfa sprouts
2 lbs. assorted yuppie food, such as tofu or yogurt
One abused orchestra
First, catch a Conductor. Remove the tail and horns. Carefully separate the large ego and reserve for sauce. Remove any batons, pencils (on permanent loan from the Principal Second Violin) and long articulations and discard. Remove the hearing aid and discard (it never worked anyway).
Examine your conductor carefully - many of them are mostly large intestine. If you have such a Conductor, you will have to discard it and catch another. Clean the Conductor as you would a squid, but do not separate the tentacles from the body. If you have an older Conductor, such as one from a Major Symphony Orchestra or Summer Music Festival, you may wish to tenderize by pounding the Conductor on a rock with timpani mallets or by smashing the Conductor between two large cymbals.
Next, pour 1/2 of the cask of wine into a bath tub and soak the Conductor in the wine for at least 12 hours (exceptions: British, German and some Canadian Conductors have a natural beery taste which some people like and the wine might not marry well with this flavor. Use your judgment).
When the Conductor is sufficiently marinated, remove any clothes the Conductor may be wearing and rub it all over with the garlic. Then cover your Conductor with the Crisco. using vague, slow circular motions. Take care to cover every inch of the Conductor's body with the shortening. If this looks like fun, you can cover yourself with Crisco too, removing clothes first.
Next, take your orchestra and put as much music out as the stands will hold without falling over, and make sure that there are lots of really loud passages for everyone, big loud chords for the winds and brass, and lots and lots of tremolos for the strings. (Bruckner might be appropriate). Rehearse these passages several times, making certain that the brass and winds are always playing as loud as they can and the strings are tremolo-ing at their highest speed. This should ensure adequate flames for cooking your Conductor. If not, insist on taking every repeat and be sure to add the second repeats in really large symphonies.
Ideally, you should choose your repertoire to have as many repeats as possible, but if you have a piece with no repeats in it at all, just add some, claiming that you have seen the original, and there was an ink blot there that "looked like a repeat" to you and had obviously been missed by every other fool who had looked at this score. If taking all the repeats does not generate sufficient flames, burn the complete set of score and parts to all of the Bruckner symphonies.
When the flames have died down to a medium inferno, place your Conductor on top of your orchestra (they won't mind as they are used to it) until it is well tanned, the hair turns back to its natural color and all of the fat has dripped out. Be careful not to overcook or your Conductor could end up tasting like stuffed ham.
Make a sauce by combining the ego, sprouts and ketchup to taste, placing it all in the blender and pureeing until smooth. If the ego is bitter, sweeten with honey to taste. Slice your Conductor as you would any turkey. Serve accompanied by the assorted yuppie food and the remaining wine with the sauce on the side.
WARNING: Due to environmental toxins present in conductor feeding areas, such as heavy metals, oily residue from intensive PR machinery manufacture, and extraordinarily high concentrations of E.coli, cryptosporidium, and other hazardous organisms associated with animal wastes, the Departments for Conductor Decimation (DCD) recommend that the consumption of conductors be limited to one per season. Overconsumption of conductors has been implicated in the epidemiology of a virulent condition known as "Bataan fever." Symptoms of this disorder include swelling of the brain, spasms in the extremities, delusions of competence, auditory hallucinations and excessive longevity.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I'm taking a really neat class in adaptation in Film theater and opera. I missed the first class because I was in New York City for a week. When I came back and looked at the syllabus I freaked out...a creative project at the end having to do with adaptation! maybe I should drop it and petition to take only two classes this quarter since I'm a senior. I go to the next class; it rocks, the professor is really interesting active and articulate. The students are 2/3's graduate students so they really know what they are talking about and are able to have interesting conversation. I do the first assignment, it's totally out of my league, but I give it a shot. I do passably well on the assignment, am criticized for being too general. I am however a "big picture" learner. I freak out again about this final paper (it can now be a critical paper) I can't do it, professor thinks I can, Embly spends some time in the library.
Adaptation as parody. The first edition of the Beggar's Opera was published in in 1728 by John Gay in London. He had up to this point been a fairly unsuccessful author of plays and other verse. The Beggar's opera is the first successful example of the ballad opera. In fact this piece is credited for starting the genre. There are 69 songs in the work 28 are derived from English ballads the other 18 are drawn from Purcell, Handel, and other composers (this is taken from Grove Music Online, I'd link it but you'd need an account to get in) The name Ballad opera is a little deceiving because it is not so much an opera as a play with pieces of music in it, however 69 pieces is a bit hefty to call a musical...no?
The beggar's opera was successful because of several different factors. First off it is a parody of Opera Seria. Specifically the Italian opera of the time. The opera seria deals with "lofty" subjects kings and queens, classical subjects (Greek myths) and is generally attended by an equally lofty audience, the aristocracy, and the aristocrazy (Greek myths) . There is a lot that is contrived in l'opera seria, entrance arias, exit arias, a set number of arias for the leading couple...for the second couple, the tenor is yon love interest, the bass is yon bad guy...also lots of castrati roles, these are sometimes later delegated to women. The exit arias are the hardest, because sometimes the plot does call for an aria as someone leaves, and sometimes the librettist really has to stretch the plot. the beggar's opera deals with entirely everyday subjects. Mack the knife is a captain of a gang of thieves, Mr Peachem, is the king of the beggars (or something). Among other things I have not heard the word slut thrown around so much as I did in this opera. The piece ends happily, but only because the narrator insists that opera must end happily.
There is political satire, I am actually much less clear on this. So when we interact with government officials in this opera they are all being bribed, and are all in all not so wonderful people. Is it the power of a beggar? Is it just the show of how in decent we are as people? I am less than clear.
Berthold Brecht, re-writes the piece as the Threepenny opera. The plot remains about the same, however since it is Brecht there is a large stand against the evil of Capitalism. Also the king comes and saves Mackie Messer at the end. The music is almost all newly written by Kurt Weill. This piece too is tremendously successful. It is in fact one of those pieces that is thought to have revolutionized modern musical theater...who knows.
Here is the dilemma...where is the thesis? How can this paper not simply be, this is the form of opera seria, this is how gay diverges from it. This is the Beggar's opera, this is how Brecht diverges from it. The form of the Ballad opera is not at all like what the Opera seria was. Nor was it really an opera at all, it was performed by actors that could sing, rather than singers...the pieces are all very simple AABB pieces. This is not even the da capo structure that one would expect out of opera seria, it is however still very regular with-in itself.
So can we see the series of changes made on a genre (with in the microcosm of these works) as a deconstruction of form? Each piece can stand on its own, and each piece brings something new to the overall work of an art form, and how and what is the adaption (something that I am far less clear on defining now on this end of an adaptation course rather than before it)