March 14, 2013

Comment catch up, part one


I’m always going to write some posts around your forum comments and then I forget.  So let’s see if I can remember long enough to catch up a little.


. . . while reading tonight’s post [Chilly singing] I was humming the Gloria from Faure’s Requiem and was going to recommend Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna as I feel they have similar airy, light, and joyful qualities. Then I realized I was humming the wrong song. :/ The Lauridsen (and the Faure, for that matter) are still worth the recommendation.

I love the Faure but . . . Good old YouTube.  I’m listening—first to Lux and then to the Songs of the Roses that Diane in MN mentions later in this thread—as I type.  I’d never HEARD of Lauridsen.  I’m so ignorant.

Although I could have done without the banner ad:  How to sing, really sing.  Breakthrough method releases your unique voice.  Watch free video here!

I’m only interested if it involves chocolate and champagne.  And I’m a little worried about the escape clause provided by that ‘unique’. *


Speaking as someone who’s seventeen, I always write drafts by hand – but that’s actually because I’m a really good typist. When I write things by hand, I can write one sentence and think of the next, then write that sentence while thinking of the next, and carry on. If I try to type a first draft, my fingers catch up to my brain and I get stuck.

YES.  EXACTLY.  I AM EXACTLY LIKE THIS.  I TYPE A WHOLE LOT FASTER THAN I THINK.  And it’s like falling off a cliff when you reach the end of your thought and your fingers are still whirring away wanting something to do.

It’s true that I write the blog straight on the computer—it would be way too much like work if I didn’t—and I start other stuff on the computer a lot more than I used to.  Still.  Paper is the real deal.  Paper doesn’t disappear at a (usually mysterious) keystroke.  And I have more little notebooks (spiral preferred, so they lie flat) with pretty or striking or tactile covers than any four people need.  I tend to write drafts in pencil, but I take notes in ink, and I just like the process of an old-fashioned fountain pen gliding across the page.

Though I also just like paper–I usually type up the draft, then print it out to make edits and then type those in… But most people at school with me think this is insane.

When you win the Nobel Prize for Literature you will have the last laugh.

Skating librarian

How many people are there in the Muddles?

Do you sing with piano or organ? I only ask because I am part of a group which can run to twenty or more and we gather in homes (those belonging to folks with parking not entirely filled with snow) where the living-dining-kitchen areas are one glorious (or not) space.

I know that kind of space is rarer in the UK, but we make do.

Both piano and organ, but mostly piano for rehearsal.  As long as there’s an accompanying instrument I don’t think it matters that much till the next concert is getting close.  There are something like forty Muddles members on the books but I would have said we rarely have more than twenty-five at practise, and we were about fifteen last week.  I know.  I think about this.  So does Gordon, because I’ve spoken to him about it.  But it’s unlikely anyone has a drawing-room big enough if all forty of us showed up—and since I’ve never managed to sing at a concert, possibly the last couple of rehearsals or so everybody turns out.  Except the superfluous first soprano who is going to the opera, unless she has flu or a deadline rendered intolerable by said flu, and doesn’t go to the opera either.**    My murky fantasy is that we start a splinter group of oh, twelve or so.***  There are lots of living spaces that could hold a mere twelve—including Third House’s sitting room.  Mwa ha ha ha ha.  I would throw in use of my cheap portable electric keyboard free.

Susan in Melbourne

I find that commercial and public interiors in the northern hemisphere are kept unnaturally warm in winter. [In the UK] I moved between hotels, restaurants, meeting rooms in universities, public transport, and everywhere I was too hot. On arrival in a new hotel room, I’d rush for the window to fling it open, and then to the heater to turn it off. A colleague who has recently moved back to the UK from Australia was telling me that she and her partner just had to leave a restaurant recently because it was too unbearably hot.

WHERE?  This sounds like America to me, not frigid chilblained England.  I acknowledge that I’ve been too hot occasionally, like in the Heathrow hotel room where Peter and I saw the original CSI for the first time (this was long ago) the night before flying to the States.  And there are still, I believe, criminally insane stores that leave their front doors open to the street and blast the entry with the best their central heating can do.  And anybody can have a Bad Wiring Day when the on switch gets stuck.  But generally speaking . . . I like pubs with open fires, and then I want to sit next to them.

Robin, you obviously mostly inhabit private spaces rather than communal ones, and I’m guessing that you wouldn’t be burning fuel at the greenhouse-layer-thinning rate that commercial premises seem to be doing. Yours is the more realistic experience of the real (chilly) world outside.

Indeed.  This is why my laptop and I crouch by the Aga in the kitchen.  It’s not because my office is still full of stuff waiting to be doodled and I can’t bear to go in there with all of it staring at me reproachfully†.  It’s because I get COLD in my office.  At very least I’ll turn the central heating on and I’ll probably dust off the electric fire and open it up too.  If I’m sitting by the Aga, if there are penguins in my office I don’t care.††  Also, there’s the hellterror.  The hellterror does not truly grasp the concept of GO LIE DOWN yet, and her big crate lives in the kitchen.  The Aga system is not popular with hellhounds, whose favourite bed, as I’ve told you, is in my office†††, but Pav will grow up.  Or maybe I’ll just rope her feet together.


^ Also: token footnote. So no one complains about the lack of footnotes.

Seriously? You have very demanding readers if they’d complain about a lack of footnotes


* * *

* Nadia is a little cynical about poor old Dido.  Drama queen, she says.  ‘Remember me’ indeed.    —I’ve always liked Dido although I agree that topping yourself because your boyfriend dumps you^ is not a healthy, balanced reaction.  But—I’ve gibbered about this before—your attitude toward a piece of music changes spectacularly—unrecognisably—as soon as you start developing a relationship with it by trying to perform the sucker.  However inadequately.^^  So I’ve been engaging with Dido on a whole variety of new levels as a result of trying to sing her.  And it may be entirely the wrong kind of courage, but it does take courage to do yourself in.  I think there’s some steel there—and some anger.  I’d like to get that into my performance, cough cough cough, with the despair and grief.

Purcell is Radio Three’s composer of the week.  Today we had Dido.  The presenter went on rather about the recording he’d chosen, and I have loved the soprano in other roles and agree she has a fabulous voice.  And when we got to the famous Lament, for which no stop has been left unpulled, I’m all:  STOP FRELLING WHINING YOU MAUDLIN COW.

^ I don’t find his offer to defy the gods and stay very convincing.  Just by the way.  Aeneas the creep.  Aeneas the faithless.  All he is is a pretty pair of biceps.

^^ Which is about as much explanation and excuse as anyone needs in answer to my craven question, why should mediocre amateurs even bother?  This is why.  Because performing widens and deepens your understanding of a major art form.  Your brain and your emotions are not limited by your technical skill.  Horizons beckon.  Angels+ whisper.  Doodah doodah.

+ Or supernatural being of choice.  Djinns.  Fairies.#

# Out hurtling hellhounds today I saw a van.  Gremlin Landscaping I read.  I blinked and looked again.  Gemini Landscaping.  Okay.  That’s better.  I don’t think I’d hire the first guy.  But I think I may have a creating-my-own-reality problem.

** Sigh.

***  Assuming SATB, four part music, there have to be at least eight of us because I’m not singing all by myself.  If there are second sopranos we have to be at least ten.

† Believe it or not, all you amazingly, astonishingly, superlatively, supernaturally patient people, I’m still turning the frellers out at about two a week.  Or I was, up till the last fortnight when there was too much generalised illness in this household and I lost the plot for a while.  But I should be starting up again next week.  But you are all aware of the refund button on the side bar of this blog?  Not only is there no disgrace^ to asking for a refund . . . remember that some day in the fuzzy distant future WHEN I’VE FINISHED THE BACKLOG Blogmom will put up a doodle shop where the refund button is at present and you can reorder.  We will be taking commissions at a strictly-enforced rate of about two a week.

^ The disgrace is all mine+

+ Including my continuing failure to knit square squares which means the rose and pawprint requisitions are still in the aaaaaaugh stage.

†† As long as they clean up after themselves.

††† And this was true before the arrival of the hellterror.

‡ However there is no footnote shortage today.


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