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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Wed, May. 16th, 2012 01:02 pm

For some reason, I just really wanted to hear this work today so you, too, get to hear about this one! I can't remember the first time I heard this work. It's always just "been there" somewhere in the back of my mind.

Vaughan-Williams, a British composer, wrote the work in 1910 and it was premiered in the same year. It's probably Vaughan-Williams's most famous work, but that doesn't make it a lesser work by any means. It is, to sum it up succinctly, amazingly gorgeous.

The theme the title references was a melody written in 1567 by Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585). It was originally a contribution to a Psalter (a collection of psalms for liturgical use) for the Archbishop of Canterbury. The original words to the hymn tune are:

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.


Somehow those words aren't quite what I expect when I hear this lovely tune.

You can hear the original sung here, if you'd like to.

I have to say I like this tune because it's in a somewhat unusual mode: Phrygian. *puts on theory hat* For those who don't know what the heck I mean by that, Phrygian is a modal scale (not major or minor) that begins on the 3rd scale degree, so on white keys it would run from E to E. Go ahead and play it on a piano. It has a distinctly odd sound due to the half step between the first two notes of the scale. You might also notice right away that it is a minor-related mode. But the truly fun thing is that the Phrygian cadence (the ending of a Phrygian tune) tends to end on a major chord despite this. It's a fun mode and one of my favourite of the more unusual modes.

So Vaughan-Williams is editing the English Hymnal of 1906 and comes across this tune. The result was a Fantasia (or a fantasy) on the theme. Vaughan-Williams wrote his piece for a string orchestra that he divided into three sections:

(1) The full orchestra
(2) A single desk from each section(a "desk" in an orchestra is the pair of musicians who read off the same music stand...so in this case you would have two each of Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello and Bass for a total of 10 musicians)
(3) String Quartet (Violin I, Violin II, Viola and Cello)

So you have three groups of varying size from the small (4) to the large (full orchestra).

The score specifics that each group should be SEPARATE (if possible) and so the performing forces are fairly large. His goal here was to imitate the sound of an organ.

It is an amazingly intricate and gorgeous piece and despite its length (around 15 minutes long) the beauty of the work should enthrall you so that time passes without your even realizing it.

Here's a great version you can listen to by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Tue, May. 15th, 2012 08:31 pm

I got Dahlia a new Syracuse University colored tug toy. I loved this photo for the way she was slightly downhill and the way her mouth is wide open so you can see all her teeth.

park7
EXIF Data: Sony A580 | Minolta 70-210mm | f/5.6 | 1/800 | ISO 500 | 210mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Mon, May. 14th, 2012 09:17 pm

This photo doesn't really look like much. I've taken a lot of "Dahlia on the porch" photos over the past nearly 4 years. But here I was experimenting with manual focus, something I almost never use. I figured it was high time I try to get to know that side of my camera better!

One of these days I'll take a fully manual shot. This one was taken using Auto ISO and Aperture priority mode.

random5
EXIT data: Sony A580 | Minolta 28mm f/2.8 | 1/50 | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | 28mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Mon, May. 14th, 2012 06:13 pm

I looked down from my chair today and saw this. It was too cute to not take a picture of. That's Dahlia's favourite foxy toy, the only toy she knows by name.

196. 5/14 "Favorite Toy"
EXIF data: SONY A580 | 28mm f/2.8 | 1/25 | f/2.8 | ISO 1600 | 28mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Sun, May. 13th, 2012 05:19 pm

What the dog wants...

md2
EXIF data: SONY A580 | 50mm f/1.7 | 1/1250 | f/4.0 | ISO 100 | 50mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Sat, May. 12th, 2012 07:47 pm

David's comment on this photo: "Saying her prayers to the god of hamburgers."

My thought: I need to get out and take pictures in better weather as my camera seems to be permanently set at ISO 1600 these days.

catching4
EXIF Data: Sony A580 | Sony 18-55mm lens | f/5.6 | 1/250 | ISO 1600 | 45mm

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4CommentReply

crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Thu, May. 10th, 2012 10:00 pm

My dog smiles.

silly2
EXIF Data: Sony A580 | Sony 18-55mm lens | f/3.5 | 1/13 | ISO 1600 | 18mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Thu, May. 10th, 2012 09:48 pm

Tonight Dahlia DID NOT want to get off the recliner when I got home. She even wanted to play tug while on the chair. I couldn't resist taking some photos.

silly22
EXIF Data: Sony A580 | Sony 18-55mm lens | f/3.5 | 1/30 | ISO 1600 | 18mm

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1CommentReply

crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Wed, May. 9th, 2012 01:38 pm

Today I'm going to introduce you to a piece that I only just recently discovered. I've heard a lot of classical music in my life, obviously, but on Monday evening I was introduced to a work I'd never heard before by a composer I don't know much about. That's pretty rare these days.

The composer in question is Michael Haydn, the younger brother of the somewhat more famous Joseph Haydn. It seems that Michael might have had the problem that younger siblings tend to: he followed someone who was great at his craft and while being great himself, was a bit overshadowed by his brother.

Joseph and Michael attended the same singing school when young and it appears that the teachers admired Michael's singing more and found him the brighter student of the two, though it was really Joseph's abilities that paved the way for Michael to be able to pursue music as his career.

Michael Hayden ultimately ended up the music master in Salzburg, a position he held for 43 years (must have been a family thing to have these long-standing positions...Joseph held a position with the Esterhazy family for nearly 30 years).

The Missa pro Defunctis, written in 1771, is a Requiem Mass (one of the few I don't know! Shame on me!). In listening to it, the first thing I was struck by was that it had some similarities to Mozart's Requiem, which was written in the 1791. Mozart knew Michael Haydn and was present at the first three performances of the Missa pro Defunctis. It is considered to be an "important model" for Mozart's work.

The work was written for the death of Count Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach. However Michael Haydn had recently lost his infant daughter and many historians believe the real motivation for writing the work was his own personal bereavement.

You can find this work on Youtube. Here are some links to listen to!

I. Requiem aeternam
II. Dies irae (My favourite movement of all Requiems -- here I think Haydn actually gets the right feel for it!)
III. Domine Jesu Christe, IV. Hostias et preces and V. Sanctus
VI. Benedictus and VII. Agnus Dei

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Wed, May. 9th, 2012 09:24 am

This morning Dahlia got up into my recliner as she always does as I get ready to leave. This was the face I was confronted with as I packed up to go. How CAN one leave that face anyway?

Unfortunately for her, I really did have to go to work.

dahlia14
EXIF data: Sony A580 | Sony 18-55mm | f/4.5 | 1/10 | ISO 1600 | 35mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Wed, May. 9th, 2012 09:12 am

(Sorry if you've all seen this!)

Yesterday I received a macro filter in the mail. It cost me all of $9 so I thought it might be fun to play around with since I can't currently afford a nice macro lens (though I'm eying Sony's 30mm f/2.8 macro, which is only around $175). I took a lot of photos with it, mostly of flowers and dandelions and other such things. But this was one I got of Dahlia.

I've entitled it "What the dog sees"...I think you'll see why!

macro16-2
EXIF data: Sony A580 | 18-55mm with Macro filter | f/5.6 | 1/100 | ISO 1600 | 55mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Tue, May. 8th, 2012 01:16 pm

I'm reaching WAY back here for one to showcase for you today. I know this won't be everyone's cup of tea but perhaps you'll give it a chance.

Most people know this, but if you don't, I have an absolute love for Medieval and Renaissance era music. It was why, when I had a chance to go to a Renaissance Faire back in high school I was SO EXCITED. I mean, I was going to hear people sing motets! And play recorder consort music! And hear CRUMHORNS!!! And, as anyone who goes to a Renaissance Faire knows, I got none of that. Even though I've gone since and even played at the Faire one summer, I still feel oddly disappointed at the lack of real Renaissance music.

Anyway...moving on...

I was introduced to Philippe de Vitry's music in a music theory class in which we analyzed music of all eras. This Ars Nova ("New Art") music of the 14th century acquired much more polyphonic (many-voiced) sophistication than earlier music, thanks in part to advances in notation. Composers could move beyond simple rhythmic modes that had followed the monophony of plainchant. Now, composers during this time got a little carried away with this new-found freedom, sometimes so completely obliterating the text that folks who listened probably had no idea what the songs were about. Some had each singer singing a different, related text. And some even had them singing in different languages! Craziness, I tell you!

Ok in all seriousness, as soon as I learned about them, I fell totally in love with the whole concept of the isorhythmic motet.

What the hell is that? you ask. Sure no problem. Let me try to explain this!

The heart of isorhythm lies in the tenor, that slow-moving voice you'll hear in the midst of the piece I'll link you to shortly. Isorhythm is made up of two parts:

(1) A repeating pattern of rhythms (called the talae)
(2) A repeating pattern of pitches (called the color)

Often the rhythm would be one amount of notes and the pitches would be a different amount of notes, thus causing them to overlap until finally coming back together. In general, the work would take longer to cycle through the pitches than to cycle through the rhythms (for instance, the color might be 28 notes long while the talae only 4 notes; that means it would take 7 repetitions of the talae before the color is completed!).

Fun, right?

Ok maybe only for theory nerds.

At any rate, above the tenor were often 2 (sometimes more) voices that moved in free-form against them, creating that polyphony I was talking about earlier. These voices are called the motetus and triplum. Because we have to name EVERYTHING in music theory.

The tenor voice, by the way, is sometimes played on instruments and sometimes sung. People nowadays are unclear as to which is historically accurate (both may have been).

Here's a recording of this work. The full name, which is "Garrit Gallus flendo dolorose / In nova fert animus" is drawn from opening lines in the two top voices. Here is the translation of the text.

Back hereCollapse )

You can listen to the work on youtube here.

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Fri, May. 4th, 2012 03:25 pm

How about a little light fun music for a Friday afternoon?

I was introduced to this piece during a class session my 20th century analysis professor taught on music by composers who are still alive. He wanted us to get to experience some of where music was NOW instead of just 50 years earlier. I think the idea was that we spent SO MUCH TIME studying music of "dead white guys" that he wanted us to realize that people were still writing this music.

I was honestly expecting some crazy stuff that was entirely unlistenable and instead heard some music that I immediately ran out to buy. This was one of the works he played that day.

Michael Torke is a fairly young composer. He was born only in 1961 (making him only 2 years older than David!) and when he wrote this piece he was all of 24 years old. This composition is one of a series of "Color" music that he wrote (also included are Ash, Ecstatic Orange, Purple and Green).  Torke apparently has Synesthesia, a neurological condition which for him means that music and color are closely intertwined. One key or combination of sounds will appear as a color to him.

The work is uplifting, happy. Nothing you'll usually see me recommend! One reviewer said of it: In Bright Blue Music, we find Torke revelling in the sheer pleasure of creating music for pure enjoyment, at once immediate and appealing.

I find that an apt description.

You can download and listen to the work here.

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Thu, May. 3rd, 2012 06:11 am

And because I never can take just one...

More!Collapse )

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Thu, May. 3rd, 2012 06:02 am

I've been teaching Dahlia how to spin as part of her agility training (more tricks that involve motion = more getting hyped up). David decided to try to get her to spin and so I took some photos of it last night.

park22

EXIF data: Sony A580 | Tamron 75-300mm | f/4 | 1/500 | ISO 800 | 75mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Wed, May. 2nd, 2012 09:06 am

Der Leiermann which is alternately translated either as "The Organ Grinder" or as "The Hurdy-Gurdy Man" is the final song in a 24-song cycle called Winterreise (Winter Journey). Though one might consider the song cycle more "atmospheric" there is a fairly loose plot: A young man (more of an anti-hero, than hero) travels to an idyllic town during the month of May. There he is invited to live with a family and falls in love with their daughter, who he believes returns his love. However, in true Romantic era fashion, one cannot remain happy! She ditches him to marry a wealthy guy who is approved of by her family. In despair and in the dead of winter, our young anti-hero departs and begins a painful journey full of longing for his previous happiness, forshadowings of death (a raven), and finally arrives at another town. The song cycle ends on a bleak note.

Over there beyond the village
Stands an organ-grinder,
And with numb fingers
He plays as best he can.

Barefoot on the ice,
He totters here and there,
And his little plate
Is always empty.

No one listens to him,
No one notices him,
And the dogs growl
Around the old man.

And he just lets it happen,
As it will,
Plays, and his hurdy-gurdy
Is never still.

Strange old man,
Shall I go with you ?
Will you play your organ
To my songs
?

I was introduced to the song cycle through this final song in an analysis class I took while working on my doctorate. The music is as bleak as the words and fits it perfectly. It follows a strict strophic form (same music for each stanza), which one would expect when you envision an organ grinder playing the same music over and over again.

Here's a beautiful version done by Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake. They've done the WHOLE song cycle this way and they're all amazing to watch.


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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Tue, May. 1st, 2012 09:13 pm

Her future's so bright, she has to wear shades.

I bought sunglasses for her. Yes they're REAL dog sunglasses (made by the Doggles folks). They're adorable and even fold up like regular ones. The side parts are bones. Dahlia was completely comfortable in them. She was able to walk around, roll over, come down the stairs, and all with confidence. I'm really happy with them!

I'm most amused at how HUGE her feet look in this photo. Ah, the power of a wide angle! Her feet aren't nearly that large. I very rarely go for portrait-oriented photos and I've never really taken a portrait-oriented wide angle photo. I like the effect.

sunglasses4

EXIF data: Sony A580 | Sony 18-55mm | f/3.5 | 1/30 | ISO 800 | 18mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Sat, Apr. 28th, 2012 07:23 pm

I arrived home tonight from our Irish traditional session with food in hand for Dahlia, as I usually do. I've been trying to get her to catch food. Usually when you toss food at her she simply flinches and let's it fall to the ground. So I've been dropping it from just above her mouth to get her to realize she can catch it.

Well, she has TERRIBLE eye/mouth coordination. Her method now is to just open and close her mouth rapidly in the hopes of catching it. Most of the time she misses. Sometimes she's lucky enough to get it. Tonight I decided it would be fun to take the camera out and take photos of her attempts.

fishing6

EXIF data: Sony A580 | Minolta 28mm | f/2.8 | 1/2000 | ISO 800 | 28mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Fri, Apr. 27th, 2012 08:37 am

Our groomer always puts a bandana on the dogs after they're groomed. She's thankfully not one who sticks silly ribbons in the female dog's hair (the groomer for Pepper, our childhood dog always did that and it always looked ridiculous). The bandanas are always adorable and often themed for the holiday if it's done right around a specific holiday. This one was adorable and pink and covered in cupcakes!

(On a side note, you'll notice that I've added EXIF data to all the photos. I find that sort of thing fascinating and I figure some folks here might be interested in the information.)

silly9

EXIF data: Sony A580 | Minolta 28mm | f/5.6 | 1/50 | ISO 1600 | 28mm

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crysania4
crysania4
Crysania
Thu, Apr. 26th, 2012 09:38 pm

Dahlia visited the groomer today, so I couldn't resist taking some photos of her. When she flopped over on her side with her head over the edge of the stairs, I thought it was far too adorable to not take a photo.

silly32

EXIF data: Sony A580 | Minolta 28mm | f/2.8 | 1/125 | ISO 1600 | 28mm

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5CommentReply