Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone

Ever have an experience that felt surreal, as though you’d been suddenly transported into the twilight zone, where time seemed to warp, perhaps slowing down or speeding up? Tell us all about it. If you haven’t had an experience in real life that you can draw from, write a fictional account of a surreal experience.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SURREAL.

Today I had my recital assessment like I told you about last night. It went really, really well! To be honest, I was really glad that I had written a blog post as preparation for the questions as well, because I think I impressed them with my knowledge of the pieces and their composers. Funnily enough, I felt so ‘at home’ when I was playing. The surreal properties of it make it an ample story to tell today.

So, I started with the Prokofiev Cello Sonata, 2nd Movement, and it went really well. My accompanist actually came and got me to rehearse with me this morning unexpectedly. In the assessment, Prokofiev was better in areas than I had rehearsed, and likewise there were also some mistakes. However, and this is where the surreal part comes in, I did experience during playing both my pieces this feeling whereby time did actually seem to warp.  When you are so enclosed within your own world I think time can go at different speeds at different times. I felt so at peace and at war, the emotions I felt reflecting similar moments in the pieces.

I would love to hear about other peoples experiences of performing, not just music, but anything – poetry, juggling – ANYTHING.

Sorry it has to be a shorter post today, however I am really busy. Sayounara!

P.S – here are some other surreal posts:

  1. Karma For a Lapsed Veggie | AS I PLEASE
  2. Mad Hatter and I | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  3. Ecclesiastical rocket | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  4. Lime Plant in White | Exploratorius
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Spraffer’s Music History Lesson #1

Hello everyone! Sorry about the lack of DP post today, however it was pretty uninspiring to be perfectly honest as I have danced before – even had lessons – but I don’t do it regularly.

Tomorrow I have two things on: a recital and a recital assessment. The recital assessment is something that happens once a year. You have to perform a programme of up to 15 minutes (I will play two pieces – 5 minutes and 12 minutes – and I know the maths doesn’t work) and talk a bit about your pieces. The marking scheme works as so:

  • You are marked out of 10 on your performance capabilities. This includes how you interact with the accompanist, how you present yourself and how you finish off the performance. The idea is that the assessment should be carried out as if it was a normal recital, even thought it is adjudicated by only two people – a senior tutor (who happens to be a legendary cellist – argh!) and a guest senior tutor (this year it is the Head of Strings in some university in England – a violist, so bring on the viola jokes!)(No seriously – what do you do if you run over a viola player? You make sure you got him.)
  • You are marked out of 25 on your technique. Important factors include making sure that you are not tense during playing, you are perfectly in tune, and you make a really good and appropriate sound.
  • You are marked out of 25 on your musicality. For the purposes of the assessment, this includes whether you approach the piece musically, your choice-making during a performance, your choices regarding what you do musically when preparing the pieces for the assessment, etc. It can also include your performance attitude, and how you appear during a performance (e.g. if you make a tuning error and screw up your face, then they may deduct marks). Because the tutors are naturally very musical, and obviously very musical, it can be terrifying to play to them. I know a few friends who are really worried about their assessments.
  • You are also marked out of 10 on your knowledge about the pieces and composers, as well as your general know-how on what possible things you could have done with the piece to prepare it. Questions may include things like “What did you find hard about learning these pieces and how did you approach these?”, or perhaps “How did the composers experiences influence your piece?”. This is new to the assessments this year, and to be honest has been terrifying everyone as no one really knew that this was going to be marked!

So, tomorrow I will be playing two pieces, one of which is not too hard and the other is quite tricky. These are Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata, 2nd Movement, and Bruch’s Kol Nidrei for Cello and Orchestra (although it is going to be played by my legendary piano teacher whom everyone loves because he is literally ridiculous at playing piano).

Here is the Kol Nidrei, played by legendary cellist, Jacqueline Du Pré:

And here is the Prokofiev Sonata, 2nd Movement, played by legendary cellist, Yo-Yo Ma:

As practice for my exam, I’m now going to write about my two pieces and their composers – briefly.

Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei is for Cello and Orchestra, as I said, and was finished in Liverpool, England and published in 1881 for the first time in Berlin. It was premiered by Robert Hausmann, the cellist of the Joachim Quartet, for whom the piece was written. The piece is, ultimately, in binary form (there are two sections), with two different subjects. The first subject is based on the Kol Nidre prayer, a Jewish prayer recited in the evening service on Yom Kippur. The beginning of the piece, as you can hear, is supposed to imitate the hazzan who chants the liturgy at the synagogue. The prayer, I believe, is about asking God for mercy – when the cello solo comes in after the introduction, you can imagine a Jewish man praying, even begging, to God for forgiveness with “Lord, have mercy” which, not surprisingly, also fits in with the notes of the solo Cello part. The second subject of the piece is much like the sun rising in the morning, and is in the tonic major key (the same key, only major, as opposed to minor at the beginning). It is based on the middle section of Anglo-Australian composer, Isaac Nathan’s arrangement of “O Weep for Those that Wept on Babel‘s Stream” (written by Lord Byron). This again is a Hebrew inspired subject, and keeps to Bruch’s original idea.

Bruch himself was a German Romantic composer. He lived from 1836 to 1920, and is probably most famous for his first Violin Concerto. He began composing from an early age, when he wrote his mother a piece of music at age 9, and received an early musical education from Ferdinand Hiller, the pianist to whom Schumann dedicated his wonderful Piano Concerto in A minor. Bruch enjoyed a long career as a teacher and composer, taking up jobs all around Germany. He composed very much in the traditional German Romantic style, much like Brahms, as opposed to Liszt and Wagner who composed “New Music”. He worked with musical legends of the time, such as Joseph Joachim who premiered Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with Robert Hausmann.

Contrasting to the Romantic German style of Bruch and his Kol Nidrei, Sergei Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata is a truly vibrant and modern piece of music. My favourite movement, despite playing the second tomorrow, is the first, however I haven’t put it up yet. So here it is:

The piece was premiered in 1950 by yet another legendary cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich, and extraordinary (pianists of this standard are also legendary, however cello must take priority…) pianist, Sviatoslav Richter, in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. It was composed for Rostropovich himself in 1949, after Prokofiev had been inspired to write the piece following hearing one of Rostropovich’s recitals the same year. Much of Prokofiev’s music as banned because of the composer being accused of formalism by the Russian Government. Many artists in Russia who lived at the same time (and a lot of whome knew each other), such as Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Rachmaninoff, also suffered from the terrible conditions in Russia at the time, resulting in many of them (including Prokofiev) emigrating to places like America. I think this also had an effect on the Cello Sonata. The second movement has march-like qualities about it, however there is a really, as my cello teacher would say, “wishy-washy” (great adjective, don’t you think?), romantic tune in the middle which I think reflects upon Prokofiev’s relief from the fact that he could openly premier and publish, as he did in 1951, his music in Russia again. The piece usually takes about 25 minutes to perform from start to finish, and has three movements: (i)Andante grave, (ii)Moderato, and (iii)Allegro, ma non troppo.

Sergei Prokofiev was a Russia composer who is famous for his Peter and the Wolf (a personal favourite of mine!) and his five piano concertos. He was born in 1891 Sontsovka, now Krasne in Eastern Ukraine, which was under rule by the Russian Government. Inspired by his musically devoted mother playing Chopin and Beethoven on the piano, he composed pieces from an extraordinarily young age of 5. He studied in Moscow most of his life, and moved between Russia and America during his life time depending on how turbulent the situations were in Russia at the time (although he was tempted back by Stalin’s government, he was subjected to more accusations when he returned – his wife was sent to a gulag in Siberia).

I hope that this will give you some interesting stuff to learn and talk about, as well as letting me pass my assessment! Do listen to the pieces – they are all fantastic! Anyways, I hope everyone’s having a good evening!

Daily Prompt Catch-up: Walking on the Moon

What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break? Was it worth it, were you successful in walking on the moon, or did your leg break?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RISK.

This is my first catch-up for now. I was in the Edinburgh Central Library, Reference Library (gorgeous building, must visit if you’re in Edinburgh – it’s on the top floor), on a computer for two hours doing some work due to my infamous craptop failures, and I decided to attempt at doing some writing on the blog. However the computer did this funny thing that meant that all the text on the screen of the “New Post” page was invisible! So apologies for that, however that frustration has led me to doing this prompt which I meant to do on Saturday!

It has to be said, I am not one for taking risks – at least not anymore. I play it safe in most cases, often going out of my way to do so. However the only exception to this is when I’m playing music. A musical “risk” can be a lot of things, but what I mean by it is something that you do that might go against the grain; something unconventional. As a musician I think it’s important to put in a couple of quirks when you feel like doing so. In a performance, for example, I might do something spontaneous stylistically (obviously not completely crazy: subtlety works best!); something that I haven’t practised doing for that piece yet which will work nicely. Risks in music is what brought us Debussy, Shostakovich – in fact you can go right back to Medieval/Renaissance music whereby one composer wrote a Mass setting based on a particularly dodgy, secular song!

Indeed, in a lot of situations, in science for example, you must take risks to progress! I know that my risks in music lead to enjoyment, and that can be progress too.

Risks of other natures:

  1. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Basically Beyond Basic
  2. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | a Portia Adams adventure
  3. My Giant Step – Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  4. Four Things I Learned About Freedom From an Uber-Strict Prep School | Kosher Adobo
  5. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon- Being Independent | Journeyman
  6. I Think My Leg Is Broken | Musings | WANGSGARD.COM
  7. Rocket To The Moon . | Crossroads
  8. A Rainy Day At Home (short story) and The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  9. One Crazy Mom » Taking the Next Step
  10. I’m Michael Jackson | Knowledge Addiction
  11. I Will Weather | Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | likereadingontrains
  12. DP Daily Prompt: Walking On The Moon | Sabethville
  13. Walking On The Moon – You Kidding! | Views Splash!
  14. Daily Prompt: The Giant Step — A Haiku: Sunday, February 23, 2014 | LisaRosier.com
  15. It’s All About Trying… | Life Confusions
  16. S. Thomas Summers: Writing with Some Ink and a Hammer | A Violin on Baker Street
  17. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Here I am !!
  18. Extinction | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  19. Hunters – reloaded | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  20. Inappropriate love | shame
  21. We Ought to Obey God Rather Than Men | Among the Whispers
  22. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  23. If You Lose Your Head While Cooking, It Insults My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  24. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon « Mama Bear Musings
  25. A giant step | Sue’s Trifles
  26. Have Faith In God | Flowers and Breezes
  27. I liked the place so much I bought more than the t-shirt! | thoughtsofrkh
  28. DAILY PROMPT: Risk | cockatooscreeching
  29. Dare To Dream | My Little Avalon
  30. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon – LOVING THE ALIEN | Phoenix Fights
  31. Three Firsts In A Day | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  32. Daily Prompt: Being Intrepid! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
  33. Craters in my heart. | Your Best Friend from the DMV
  34. Risky Business for this Girl Born in the Year of the Rat « psychologistmimi
  35. here’s to evolution | y
  36. milking the way | peacefulblessedstar
  37. What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break? | askgrampa
  38. Walking on the Moon | I Write Therefore I Am
  39. Leap and the Net will Appear | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  40. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  41. Tiny Pieces | Barefoot on Rainy Days
  42. Losing Blood | The Land Slide Photography
  43. Daily Prompt: A Leap of Faith | Wright Outta Nowhere
  44. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Delicious Ambiguity
  45. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Infinitefreetime
  46. I’m Not Afraid of Lunar Monsters
  47. Some may say I’m wishing my days away… | An Upturned Soul
  48. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | The Wandering Poet
  49. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  50. Dream awake | mnemosynesandlethe
  51. Igmutaka’s Blessing | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  52. Two Years Later | Recovery Miles
  53. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Nola Roots, Texas Heart
  54. Where’s the Function Key for “Risk?” | by LRose
  55. A plea on behalf of all of us who self-publish. Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  56. for a pigeon | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
  57. DP_Walking on the Moon…or should I say – Gliding in the Sky! | Essence of Del
  58. Risk: Daily Post | Destino
  59. Haiku: Walking on the Moon | Mirth and Motivation
  60. My First Step Out of Rock Bottom to Start My Walk on the Moon | Ever Upward
  61. I did not break a leg | mombox
  62. Defying Gravity | Retrofocus
  63. My Disney College Program (A quick summary of why) | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  64. Hall of Shame | Exploratorius
  65. Moon Walking For Dummies | Overcoming Bloglessness
  66. Risk- The fear and excitement of taking that important first step | A picture is worth 1000 words
  67. Risk: Walking on the Moon | Yowza, Here We Go!
  68. My brief American dream | Life is great
  69. Risk | Focal Breeze
  70. Risk Taking… Beware! | The Christian Gazette
  71. Walking on the Moon | Alexia Jones
  72. Giant Step: Kelly’s Cheesecakes and Cookies | 365 Days of Thank You
  73. Daily Prompt: Risk | That Montreal Girl
  74. Daily promp: Weighing it up | helen meikle’s scribblefest
  75. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Lady K’s Lounge
  76. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Lady K’s Lounge
  77. Daily Prompt: Risk | Morrighan’s Muse
  78. Sunday Snapshot: Walking on the Moon | Tommia’s Tablet
  79. JUMPING SHIP | SERENDIPITY
  80. Life – risks = boring | Willow’s Corner
  81. The Art of Doing a Header | Awkward Laughter
  82. Care to Dare | Rima Hassan
  83. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | Raspberry’s Daydreams
  84. Daily Prompt: Walking on the Moon | bardalacray
  85. Recipe: Giant Chocolate WTFs | Be Less Amazing
  86. THE RISK TAKER | DANDELION’S DEN