Friday, September 25, 2015

Righteous Classical Music: La Mer by Claude Debussy

YEAH, more Debussy! Debussy and Tchaikovsky are my two favorite composers, along with Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Sviridov and about a million other guys!
Ahem, so La Mer is a tone poem about (you guessed it!) the sea, and it is an absolute masterwork of suggestion through musical texture. Debussy portrays the many different 'moods' of the ocean, from tranquility to the crashing waves and mysterious depths.
There are three movements to this piece.
1. De L'aube a Midi sur la Mer (From Dawn to Midday on the Sea)
2. Jeux de Vagues (Games of the Waves)
3. Dialogue du Vent et de la Mer (Dialogue of the Wind and Sea)
The first movement is my favorite, but the others are super cool too. I love the first movement because it reminds me of the Monterey Bay, one of my favorite places in California. The waters are so peaceful at times, but also very powerful and awe-inspiring. That's a feeling I really get from this movement. There is a really pretty Flute solo, too!! Really, I just love how Debussy uses the woodwind section. He utilizes the strengths of each instrument and they are used to their fullest potential. Makes me wish I didn't have a cold so I could play flute/piccolo! :(
The second movement really does sound like playful waves. From the downward scales from the wind section at the start of the piece, to the somewhat spazzy part for strings, this movement is very suggestive of a rather squally day out at the harbor, the winds picking up and the waves becoming rougher. This movement isn't really melodic at all. You can't find a single defining melody. Rather, it's about the sounds and what they suggest, which isn't something you want all music to be, but it's pretty darn cool when done right. At the end of this movement, there is a lovely little bit for Piccolo and Harp, by the way. ;)
The last movement, Dialogue of the Wind and Sea, is foreboding, but also rather excited at the beginning. I really like the use of percussion, especially the timpani drum! The oboe and flute too, get to do some fun solo-ish parts. Towards the end, Piccolo does some cool whistle-y things which I like. The woodwinds do some very interesting runs that sound really difficult! Debussy is so hard to play because sometimes it sounds like it doesn't fit together when it actually does, so when you try and make it 'fit' the way you're used to, you mess it up. This movement makes for a nice, strong finale to what is a terrific musical image of the sea in all it's power and beauty, from tranquility to majesty.

Next Up: The 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Some Videos of my First Concert LOL

Me and my sister actually found our orchestra on YouTube. Righteous!
Some of them are total blasts from the past, I'm tellin' ya.
These first two are from my first concert way back in 2011!!
Back when we actually had a different conductor. O.o
Also way back when I didn't spaz like an squirrel on meth. Seriously, if only I could find a more recent video, you guys could see what I mean. XD

This next one is part of the Nutcracker medley we did, and out of seven flutes, I was one of the lucky three who got to be a soloist in the Dance of the Reed Pipes! I'm the greasy haired one in the middle. XD
I'm happy I found this video, because I didn't actually get to see the dancer during our performance. Our conductor told us that if he caught us looking at the dancer, we'd be kicked out. But she's really good!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Still Life: Count Your Lucky Stars

So, you know, I was just skimming through The Brothers Karamazov (as I am wont to do), and decided that this would be fun to draw. Keep in mind, I've been sick and hopped up on medicine, so this might not be that funny, I dunno. XD

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture by Tchaikovsky

Warning: Ranting Lies Herein! Ranting of the good sort, not angry ranting though. :)
Okay, so we're playing this, and I'm really excited, because I've been wanting to play it for a while! What a coincidence!
So this piece actually a telling of the Romeo and Juliet story in and of itself, telling the story with music, rather than words. Sometimes I actually prefer listening to this to reading the play, because the sheer emotional scale of the music is overpowering to me. If you close your eyes, you feel absolutely enveloped in the music, and it goes through so many different emotions! There is a sense of nervous tension almost ever present (even during the famous love theme), and explosive anger and conflict. And there is, I think, a very palpable feeling of helplessness present at certain spots too. Starting around the 15:30 minute mark in the video, the anxious tone grows and grows, until the previously quiet and peaceful, but now soaring and lush love theme returns. This should be a joyful moment, but something in the music sends the message that something is very wrong. The immense timpani rolls make it feel like you're helplessly afloat on a stormy sea.
Of course, I have a rep for being very melodramatic, but hey! This is some of the most emotional music in the world, so I'm in my element here!
Anyway, we've talked about the emotional aspects, so now howabout more on the technical side. This piece has very good parts for pretty much everyone in the orchestra. The brass are totally righteous and can show off really well, the bassoon part actually, is really neato too! The part for violin sounds like so much work, it's very virtuosic. I mean, just listen to the more strife-y parts of the music, and you'll find yourself wondering how they're doing that! The Flute/Piccolo parts are considerably easier, but definitely not easy. There's a lot of coming in on the right beat, and runs fer dayz. But really, it's so much fun to play. The Flute/Piccolo parts are so beautiful (yeah, even the Piccolo gets in on the lovey dovey action!) and I find myself getting totally lost in the music. And that, my friends, is my favorite thing about Orchestra! Well, getting lost in the music, and the occasional free cake when the conductor's birthday lands on a rehearsal night. ;)
Just kidding, stay frosty, my friends!

Music actually starts around 2:00. :)

Next Up: La Mer: From Dawn to Midday on the Sea by Claude Debussy

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Still Life: Piccolo Contract

I double Piccolo in my orchestra (as you all know, and no doubt beg me to stop bringing up XD), which means you're the lucky member of the Flute section who gets to float between two instruments at your leisure. The conductor was pretty cool with that the first semester, but the second semester, I had a few solos, so he started cinching up on the causal swapping to Flute whenever the Piccolo is on a 1,408,00 measure rest. I mean, I LOVE the Piccolo, but I'd like to be able to do Flute when I have those monster rests. He's not so strict about it this semester (WHOOO!), but I still drew this comic because.
If you click on the picture, the text is way clearer.