Ooh I do like a bit of Fauré

Hey everyone! Sorry for not blogging for absolutely weeks however I was busy in orchestral rehearsals for the last two weeks and I had little time for anything else. Recently I have listened to far too many Russian, hearty, gutsy and loud symphonies and orchestral works. I have resorted to my quieter, more conservative choral music. One of the composers I was listening to was C. V. Stanford, an extremely underated Romantic choral composer, and whose work, Bluebird, I am pretty sure I have shared on this blog already, however if not here it is again:

This is actually one of my favourite pieces of music and is certainly my favourite piece of choral music. I find it so serene and peaceful, complete with amazingly simple imagery of a lake (I always imagine it at dawn – with mist hanging over) and bluebirds. Stanford was predominantly a religous choral writer, writing for the church services and for organs, however this text that he sets is quite refreshing after hearing a lot of Christian texts that he put to music.

The second composer I was listening to again more recently was Gabriel Fauré, the 19th Century French music genius (at least I think so!). Most have heard something by Fauré in their lifetime, perhaps without knowing so, and his work Cantique de Jean Racine is a sublime masterpiece, one of his most famous:

This is very much a religious piece of music, telling of the grace of god, etc. Fauré had a strong belief in the afterlife, something recognised by his famous Requiem. This piece was written when he was just twenty years old, and is quite a masterpiece. I hope you enjoy these treats and I promise to get back into writing some bigger posts soon!

If you want to read up on Fauré then visit this Classic FM page: http://www.classicfm.com/composers/faure/

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Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You

Got a soul-mate and/or a best friend? What is it about that person that you love best? Describe them in great detail — leave no important quality out.

Hello everyone! I apologise for not blogging in over a week, however I was caught up in a flurry of concerts, workshops and work – all of which are finished for the time being as term has ended now!

I know this may sound cheesy, but I was thinking a lot about music today and I realised how my cello is one of my best friends, and how music is my soul-mate. Right now, I have been going through a lot of stress for multiple reasons, and where some people have a partner/significant other, I have music to hold on to.

Having been thinking a lot (I do this well – I am over-analytical of myself and everything) about, yes, everything, I have found myself undergoing yet another process of change. In life it is important to change, despite it being utterly terrifying – I should know. That being said, everyone needs ‘a constant’ in their lives. This last week started with me feeling refreshed and awake, ready to do everything I needed to do (late night rehearsals, the biggest concert of the term, etc.), yet through the week things changed – I had restlessness nights, moments of extreme panic and worry, emotional challenges.

Going through life you must realise that changes in yourself and everything is natural, however something that I have been questioning is whether you can change back into someone you were. I was at a concert on Thursday night at the Usher Hall (that’s in Edinburgh, if you don’t know). My favourite living cellist, Steven Isserlis (amazing hair, amazing talent), was playing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, my favourite cello concerto, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. My teacher has known him for years, however I only just met him earlier this week. I only made the second half of the concert (the Dvorak was in the second half), and sat with three friends in the Upper Circle where we had a great view and great place for hearing Isserlis and the orchestra.

It was stunning. I can say to you now that I have never been to a better concert in my life, and that I was incredibly moved by his playing. I had heard this recording on YouTube before, however even though this recording is outstanding the concert was inhuman. We all faced each other after about six minutes of the concerto and were all starstruck. His technique and musicianship are flawless and absolutely incredible. There were moments in the second movement where I wanted to cry it was so beautiful. Everything about it was perfect. The piece itself is incredible, however I never knew music could be that perfect – and that’s saying something.

I think that it’s ironic how I describe music as ‘the constant’ in my life, however so much changes within the course of, say, a piece like the Dvorak Cello Concerto. I now appreciate how much music reflects our own humanity – it changes like a person would change, yet you still feel as if you can depend on it. Like some people, music can tie together a community, a group of friends. I was in a relationship with someone at the beginning of the year whom I had grown close to very quickly. She is a clarinettist, a fabulous one at that. Music brings people together like that, yet music changes people too. What do you think of that?

Other soul-mates:

  1. Thirteen Time Zones Away and Still Side by Side | Kosher Adobo
  2. Neurosis From A to Z | The Jittery Goat
  3. From My Heart, with Love | From Hiding to Blogging
  4. Born to be With You – Bess you is my woman now. (Daily Prompt) | Roving Bess
  5. Bitten by the Love Bug!! [Wish Come True] | She Writes
  6. Daily Prompt: Born To be With You -Psychology Behind Choosing To Like People We Met | Journeyman
  7. EMILY AND JUSTIN: THE PROPOSAL | She Writes
  8. Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  9. Born To Be With You | The Magic Black Book
  10. DP Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | Sabethville
  11. Born to be With You | Faith, Life and Compassion
  12. Be the Edward to my Vivian | Expressions
  13. Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  14. About a Panda | jigokucho
  15. Drama queen | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  16. Layers | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  17. Love, Life and Loss | MC’s Whispers
  18. My Soul Mate: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  19. I’m On Riot ! | Life Confusions
  20. Yearning for The One : a misguided human quest? Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  21. She Loves Me | My Author-itis
  22. The one I love… | Life Sans God
  23. Born To Be With You (Daily Prompt) | Wordy Wings
  24. Recharging the Cell Phone | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  25. people let me tell you about my best friend | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
  26. Born To Be With You | The Giardino Journey
  27. Opposites Attract! | meanderedwanderings
  28. An ode to a soul mate who doesn’t exist | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  29. He is the soul-mate because…. | The Gilded Lotus
  30. Cradle « Averil Dean
  31. My Sun, My Life | Flowers and Breezes
  32. In Step with an Angel | Speculative Paradigm Shifts
  33. The Rainbow Of My Life | The Insight of a young soul
  34. Welcome Back! | Views Splash!
  35. Born to be with You: Daily Post | Destino
  36. This Kid I Know: Michelle | Never Stationary
  37. How To Be A Best Friend | Never Stationary
  38. Zip you lips because loose lips sink ships | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  39. “Give her the truth serum, NOW!” | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  40. Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | My Atheist Blog
  41. Soul Mates | Kate Murray
  42. Born to be with you | Asianchemnerd
  43. Let Me Tell You a Secret | Out From Under the Umbrella
  44. Every Fiber of my Being | The Ravenously Disappearing Woman
  45. My ‘virtual’ best friend | Prompt Me Please
  46. Born to be with you? | An adventure? Alpaca my bags.
  47. An Open Letter To My Person | Sloppy Etymology
  48. Love Crime, Acts of Love, and wacky love bits: this week’s weird news « psychologistmimi
  49. we go together like a bird and a feather | the REmissionary
  50. Mr.Know-It-All | bratz626
  51. Dear Stephen, | 1+1-1=0
  52. The swale and the swirl of now. | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
  53. Daily Prompt: Born to Be With you | daniellemcfarlane
  54. Soulmate: BornToBeWithYou Daily Prompt | Starting Write Now
  55. Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You | Basically Beyond Basic
  56. How I Met My Beast, My Love, My Christopher | My Renaissance Blog
  57. My Person | Yellow Brick Road

Daily Prompt: Linger

Tell us about times in which you linger — when you don’t want an event, or a day to end. What is it you love about these times? Why do you wish you could linger forever?

What a wonderfully relevant DP today! I was talking with the 1st Violinist in our Schubert Quintet today and our tutor had told him that we were to leave the first movement of the Schubert String Quintet and move onto the second movement which we want to also perform, rather daringly, from memory.

The second movement has possibly has the highest moment of harmonic and emotional ecstasy in the entire piece – quite amazing writing just as we already expect from playing the third and first movements. So here it is, or at least a part of it as the video does not cover all of the movement (if you’d like to listen to the rest either follow the instructions on the video or listen to other recordings):

In the second movement there is a moment of stillness, chords lingering in the air, creating atmosphere and tension. In music, atmosphere can often be created by lingering in still moments of the music. For example, in Jan Sandström’s ‘Det är en ros utsprungen‘, which I’ve shared on the blog before as it is one of my all time favourite pieces, the original music by Praetorius has been slowed down – it now lingers – and the soloists singing the words are accompanied by a humming chorus which, even when the chords of the soloists change, do not alter their chord for ages. This adds to all the atmosphere, and that’s why I really like the piece:

Sometimes there is a chord, or chord progression, with specific arrangements of parts and notes that make such moments utterly beautiful, creating a perfect atmosphere. Sometimes even the deathly silence that lingers after a huge, loud section of music is the most atmospheric. ‘Lingering’ in music is so important, especially for manipulating emotions of players and the audience. When there are such moments that you love you do wish that you could stay there forever, never running out of breath or bow, until the moment whereby it becomes too painful to carry on. It really shows how amazing music is in truth.

Before I end, I would just like to invite anyone interested in guest blogging on the blog to have a look at my Guest Blogging page – I would be very interested to hear from you! Thanks!

Other lingering people:

  1. A Night At Billy Bronco’s | The Jittery Goat
  2. Daily Prompt: Linger- What Makes a Life Worth Living For | Journeyman
  3. The Last | Kate Murray
  4. A Monday free of an alarm call is wonderful, isn’t it? | thoughtsofrkh
  5. DP Daily Prompt: Linger | Sabethville
  6. Daily Prompt: Linger | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  7. S. Thomas Summers: Writing with Some Ink and a Hammer | There Be Leprechauns
  8. Shared Lullabies: An Adult Who Wants to Stay Just a Little Bit Longer in Her Parents’ Bed | Kosher Adobo
  9. linger | yi-ching lin photography
  10. after that first bite, | y
  11. When Do I Stay Awhile? | Cass’s Useless Opinions
  12. Daily Prompt: Linger | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  13. Hardships will not deter me from getting closer to my love | Outreach
  14. My pre-game Pre-Game | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  15. Daily prompt: Linger | The Wandering Poet
  16. A Love Affair With Southern Italy | AS I PLEASE
  17. Home Sweet Home | Views Splash!
  18. Step by step | Le Drake Noir
  19. Daily Prompt: Linger | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  20. Linger Longer… | Hope* the happy hugger
  21. Never fly solo | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  22. If ever | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  23. Love for lingering, drumming | Journey of a Culture Carrier
  24. Lingering longer | Sue’s Trifles
  25. The Trouble with Lingering | Wise Woman in Training
  26. Daily Prompt: Linger « cognitive reflection
  27. I see stars | littlegirlstory
  28. Linger At The Beach | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  29. Lingering, all day today | sixty, single and surviving
  30. Linger | forgottenmeadows

Schubert Sick Leave – Competition Adventures

Lo – I have returned! Apologies for the absence of posts in the last couple of weeks. I always forget how busy March is every year. My excuse for not blogging is that I have had lots of concerts and rehearsals in the last fortnight. The only reason that I am blogging today is that I am at home, off sick, exhausted. Though all the concerts to do have not been done yet, I have until Monday until rehearsals get back into full swing, so this seemed like a good opportunity to catch up on rest and cure illnesses.

Last night our Schubert Quintet competed in a Chamber Music competition. We did the 3rd movement of the Schubert String Quintet in C Major – the Scherzo -, just a few hours after a few of us had competed in a Solo recital class. The leader of our Quintet won the recital class – he certainly deserved it as his musicality is fantastic and his technique is exquisite – and we all were very proud of him as we walked to the next competition venue. We grabbed some food on the way, ate, and then started rehearsing (again) – two whole hours before the competition started!

We practised in a small chapel, did plenty of intonation exercises, and went over beginnings and endings of sections of the piece. Before long, the competition started, and we went into the main hall of the church – a grand, ornamented, wonderous place in all honesty. After the first group performed we grabbed our instruments, which we had perfectly tuned beforehand, handed the score of the Schubert to the Adjudicators, and set up.

Doing chamber music from memory is unconventional to say the least, and when we placed our stands to the sides of the stage we got some chuckles from the audience. There was only one piano stool (cellists tend to prefer sitting on an adjustible piano stool as opposed to a chair) so I had to sit on a chair which, in truth, was far too low for me to sit on. We checked our strings for tuning. We were all out of tune ever so slightly. This really took us by surprise, however we tuned fairly quickly, checked everyone was okay and calm, then played.

The performance was a bit shaky, even though everyone said it was a fantastic performance, and there were a couple of memory slips from a couple of us; however the music went on regardless and seemingly these mistakes were undetectable. We received enough applause for three bows, and then the Adjudicators came up to our group and said “We’re speechless”. It was very exciting – we really didn’t think that we were that good!

After they had asked us a few questions, such as “Where do you study?”, “How long have you been playing together?” and “Will you be doing all fifty-five minutes of the piece by memory?”, we sat down and watched the last group (there were only three groups as the other six had withdrawn!) perform. In all honesty, this trio of musicians were outstanding. They played this practically unknown “Fantasy Trio” for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. They were all post-grad music students, and their performance was very refined indeed.

In the end, the trio and our Quintet were both given an “Outstanding” mark by the Adjudicators, however the trio received the medal. We all agreed that our performance was far from perfect. In truth, little things can throw you off your game. In this case, the surprise of our instruments being out of tune after we had tuned them was probably the thing was distracted us. That being said, my advice to all musicians performing chamber music is this:

Always remember that you are playing music.

Music is expressive art at the height of its glory.

In the end, everyone has to express themselves when playing music.

Feel the connection with your fellow musicians.

There is a known phenomenon amongst musicians:

When you cut out all your visual senses,

(Which take a lot of energy from the brain),

Your other senses take over, and are heightened,

If you can feel this all the time you have entered a whole different realm of music-making,

And I assure you that you will never feel the same about music again.

End-of-week Music-making

Hello everyone! Today I have had a really amazing day, possibly the best I’ve had all year. I had a Schubert String Quintet rehearsal from 12.30-7.30pm today. By the end, we said that we could have gone on for twice that.

It was really sunny today in Edinburgh – quite extraordinarily so actually. We were slow to start the rehearsal, so we properly started at about 1pm in the Chapel which is amazing to play chamber music in. Because we knew we had ages to rehearse, we decided to take loads of time to do intonation warm-ups as a group, and we did scales in C and Db Major (the two main key signatures of the Schubert String Quintet), whole tones scales in both of those keys, and then chordal whole tone scales (which are fantastic to warm up with).

We rehearsed mainly the 3rd movement, as we have a lunchtime concert and a competition in which we are playing the 3rd movement; however we did also play the 1st movement (ah, the joys). Anyways, we had plenty of breaks, lots of fun, and it was generally amazing!

The part I must tell you about is what happened in the final two hours of the rehearsal. We were doing the 3rd movement – the Scherzo (lively, fast and upbeat) and the Trio (slower, relaxed, sad but utterly gorgeous) – and a friend of ours who is doing the 1st movement came in to listen to our rehearsal. We decided to do both the lunchtime concert and the competition by memory, which is quite unconventional for chamber music; however this gives us an even better connection with each other which is ultimately what chamber music is all about.

When our friend had left we asked her to switch the lights off, and we played in total darkness, starting with the gorgeous Trio. We were so in our own world. With our eyes closed, we felt this “sixth sense” that is, in truth, possibly the most phenomenal thing about playing chamber music in the dark, and all of our entries that we would have usually looked at each other for were perfectly together! We were so into the music, we ended up going onto the Scherzo for the second time (it comes back to it after the Trio) and finished the piece, with only a few memory slips.

All in all, it was fantastic, and these “Schubert Saturdays” will certainly be happening again soon.

Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMAGINARY.

Oh the world of dreams! I love dreams, although I tend not to have them so regularly anymore; however this means that I appreciate them even more when I do have them!

Often people’s moods are affected by how they sleep; restless, relaxed, filled with vibrant imagery, filled with terrible imagery. For me as a musician and writer I can pour these experiences into what I do. Recently, you may or may not recall, I had a particularly bad dream, although it wasn’t terrifying in the sense of gory and blood-filled. It put me on-edge for the entire week. This shows how influential dreams, and indeed nightmares, can be.

My favourite dreams are the ones in which I am travelling. I love travelling; however, again, I don’t do it nearly as often as I used to. Recently I had a dream about going on a ferry to France, as I have done before. This was probably sparked from listening to La Mer by Debussy, which I talked about in my DP post yesterday. I love France, and I have gone there on holiday seven times. My dream started off on the ferry, and was accompanied by Debussy’s La Mer, starting at dawn and going right into a storm – in the same way as the piece progresses. It was quite overwhelming actually – the inspiring imagery and the inspiring music made it pull at my heart-strings in the same way as in a nightmare, when you are terrified because you can’t move.

When I arrived at the port, somewhere near the border with Belgium probably, I experienced that well-known sensation of all the blurred images and a headache, being pushed along the “storyline”, until I gained some kind of control and found myself under the centre of the Eiffel Tower. When I visited the Eiffel Tower for the first time, when I was a kid of about 5 or something, I always went underneath the centre and dizzied myself. because of the sheer size of it. Like I would have done in real life, I went to a café and ordered coffee.

And that, folks, was more or less the dream, one of my favourites. It’s funny that your dreams, despite being imaginary, can also be quite realistic. The human imagination certainly is an art form.

Other imaginary people:

  1. Back In Bug and The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  2. Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams- The Psychology of Dreaming | Journeyman
  3. Deliverance | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  4. Fairy Wings- Non Fiction | Rose-tinted Rambles
  5. Sky on floor level | Le Drake Noir
  6. Until then… | Daily Prompt: Sweet Dreams | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me
  7. I Dreamed About Avril Lavigne | THE BLACK SPAGHETTI CHRONICLES

Daily Prompt: But No Cigar

Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CLOSE.

 Sorry for another late response. Today I am taking the minimalist approach. They say a picture paints a thousand words, but I believe music sings more than you can imagine. Today’s Daily Prompt is about things that didn’t go quite to plan. When I’m going through a bad time emotionally, I often listen to music that expresses what I’m feeling without me actually saying it. The result is uplifting and utterly wonderful. I have two pieces of music, both choral pieces of music from my chorister days, that I can relate to when I’m down. I’ve already shared ‘Det är en ros utsprungen‘ by Jan Sandström, which is utterly blissful to listen to, however the other piece I have in mind is Stanford’s ‘The Bluebird‘.

You cannot imagine the effect that this had on me, hearing it for the first time in a cathedral by expertly trained singers. It was sensational. I remember learning about accounts people had written when they first heard early Renaissance music, some 400-500 years ago. It’s hard to understand what kind of experience those people must have had until you experience it yourself.  Hearing ‘The Bluebird’ was that experience for me. Whenever I’m feeling sad because of something that had gotten so close but hadn’t quite made it, I listen to this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Close calls from fellow bloggers:

  1. Stillness Speaks | Vintage Photography
  2. A stroll through London Bridge | AS I PLEASE
  3. Zeke Found His Style (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
  4. Close | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  5. But No Cigar | Geek Ergo Sum
  6. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Under the Monkey Tree
  7. DP Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Sabethville
  8. Interrupted | La Gatita Oscura
  9. Sayang* | aportraitingrayscale
  10. A Close Call on the Way to Yellowstone | Exploratorius | Photo Hack & Curious Wanderer
  11. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Awl and Scribe
  12. Sometimes A Loss is a Win | THE OVERCOMING
  13. Daily Promt: Things happen for a reason. The Duchess of Malfi was worth the change. | Susan Jane Bradfield
  14. ‘Heneghan’ hope… | alienorajt
  15. Cannibal | Shadows Of The Divine
  16. Nearly there | A mom’s blog
  17. But No Cigar | The Nameless One
  18. The Close | L5GN
  19. Close Protection at La Bonne Mère | Travel with Intent
  20. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Thoughts of an INFP
  21. The Journey 1 Seahenge | andyarticles
  22. How To Fold A Tote Bag (Project)
  23. But No Cigar |
  24. Why did nobody take up the Mantle? | A Teacher’s Blog
  25. On the lighter side of close | Unlocking The Inner Creative
  26. Close, But No Cigar | aMUSEing THINGS
  27. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Basically Beyond Basic
  28. No Banana! | Saying Everything
  29. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  30. The Best Laid Plans and All That Rot | My Author-itis
  31. Just a Man and his Cigar | field of thorns
  32. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  33. We’re Just A Chapter. | Chasing The Bubble
  34. A House for Me | Flowers and Breezes
  35. Positive Energy | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  36. “Quiniela” | Life is great
  37. Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar | I really just pretend to know stuff
  38. Give my heart a break! | Le Journal D’Une Cheval Noire
  39. Photo Editing Challenge: Week 11- Trees and/or Tree Trunks | Hope* the happy hugger
  40. Processing the life
  41. No Cigar or Applause | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  42. No Rose Garden/Daily Prompt “No Cigar” | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  43. Closed | Dreams to Reality !
  44. Daily Prompt: Close and then Closer | Daily Prompt & Blogging Progress
  45. Close but No . . . Well, You Know! | meanderedwanderings
  46. Life plays its notes ………… | Rahul Kumar
  47. Dear Fellow WordPresser | Chunky Brain
  48. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar |
  49. Where’s My Damn Cigar? | Cheri Speak
  50. Close | Photography Journal Blog
  51. Nice Try Buddy — But No Cigar | Oh Danny Boy!
  52. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | The Wandering Poet
  53. Weekly Writing Challenge + Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation, But No Cigar | A Hedonistic Wander
  54. Daily Post: But No Cigar! | Spiritual Crossroads
  55. Daily Post: Close | Tessa Sheppard
  56. Not even close… Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | “The Ish,” presented by the Bohemian Rock Star
  57. Yet So Far. | Brianne Writes
  58. Baby Penguins and Hollandaise Sauce | The Flavored Word
  59. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Morrighan’s Muse
  60. First Love | Sam’s Online Journal
  61. Daily Prompt: But No Cigar | Poetry
  62. Up, Close & Personal | LenzExperiments