Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Break

I spent March Break as I'd planned: being lazy (I spent most of last Saturday and Sunday in bed), doing homework (I just finished off a roll of film this afternoon and will drop it off at Harvey Studios before going to class on Monday afternoon), hanging out my parents, cooking, listening to opera (Rossini's Armida last weekend, with Renée Fleming in the title role--brava!--and Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov today), grocery shopping, reworking the week-by-week plan for my independent study project (originally I hadn't planned to shoot photos for it, and I'd forgotten that the first week of the project was the week before March Break), finishing my Photoshop homework, doing a résumé blitz in St. Andrews, and writing. I also won the lottery (I won twenty bucks today--not much, but it's the first time I've won anything. I bought the ticket in F'ton before going to class the Friday before March Break.).

Today was the encore simulcast of Nixon in China at the Empire Theatre in F'ton. I thought about getting tickets for it, but I'm glad I didn't, since I'm an hour-and-a-half away right now.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning I made the serious mistake of checking my Blogger Reading List before going to bed: since there was a "new" (written last Sunday, but I hadn't read it yet) blog post by WhiteFeather, I just had to read it. She's moving closer to ditching the music in Fantasmagorie. While I think that the movie is strong enough to stand on it's own and doesn't need the music, if she does get rid of the music, the music should either be used for something else or released as a separate work, because except for the breathing the piece is too beautiful to scrap.

One of my friends who's currently in FVA posted a Facebook status a few days ago saying that she's submitted her portfolio and application for the diploma program (she hopes to get into photography). In light of that, I want to take the opportunity to once again cheer on the FVA Class of '11: I want to wish those who are applying for the diploma program the very best, and I hope that you get into the studio you've been eyeing for the last few months. Applying is unbelievably nerve-wracking, and I will never forget it: choosing what to submit (I still have the list that I made of everything that I wanted to submit and where those things were), finding those things (if your room isn't as messy as mine was, congratulations--FVA year and small bedrooms do not mix), prepping said things (taking photos of stuff from Design and Creative Process for example--thanks for the help, Drew), filling out the submission form, putting it all together--and then taking it to the registrar. And then taking a deep breath--and fidgeting with nervousness about whether or not I got into my first choice--or whether or not I got into the diploma program at all (I was rather concerned about that--my GPA at the end of FVA was around 2.25, and my marks were really dismal in 2D and 3D Design and Creative Process).

But in May I finally got a letter from the community college (not from NBCCD) congratulating me on getting into the diploma program. As soon as I read it I started laughing and crying because I was so indescribably happy. Just over two weeks later I got my FVA certificate (I didn't go to the graduation ceremony--I fully intend to go to the one in 2012, though), my transcript, and a note from Peter--who, along with talking about what would be needed for the coming year (like a laptop--Mac preferably--with as much RAM as possible), wasted no time in acquainting his future students with his sense of humour (which is awesome).

Since the Bangor Symphony Orchestra will play Beethoven's second symphony tomorrow, I thought I'd include a movement from that work. It's not my favourite symphony--I prefer the sound that Beethoven started to develop with the third symphony (the Eroica), and which continued to grow and change until his death. Even though Beethoven was always thinking a few steps ahead of his time, the second symphony still feels very tame--especially when compared with something like the third, which right from the first movement (allegro con brio--fast with vigor) is very Beethoven in terms of how he constructs the melody. But it's not surprising: he studied with Joseph Haydn, and for the first few years of Beethoven's composing career Haydn's style clearly influenced Beethoven's (he didn't start to go off on his own until the Eroica).

The second symphony was written largely in 1802, which was a very dark time in his life: he was going deaf (he wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament that year--BTW, it's a very good read: yes, it's long, all one paragraph, and, as I recall, is made up of only three sentences--which makes it feel even longer--but it gives the reader a glimpse into what Beethoven's life was like and what it was like to be him at that time), and when I did some research into what else went on that year, the Testament and his deafness are pretty much all that come up. However, he also wrote three piano sonatas (nos. 16-18, op. 31), the Seven Bagatelles for Piano, op. 33, Six Variations on an Original Theme (piano), op. 34 and Fifteen Variations and a Fugue for Piano on an Original Theme ("Eroica" Variations), op. 35.

Where I got all this info (a.k.a. the bibliography):

Article about Beethoven's second symphony on Wikipedia (dissects the different movements, as well as talking about the history behind it)
Article about Beethoven's second symphony on All About Beethoven
Life of Beethoven PowerPoint Presentation
List of compositions

You've been waiting long enough: here's the video I promised earlier. The fourth (and final) movement (allegro) of Beethoven's second symphony. Dedicated to the BSO, and the musicians that make up the orchestra--especially the violinists. Now, BSO, go be awesome--especially you guys in the violin section.

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