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Showing posts from June, 2011

Musical Adventure 4: Ravel's Introduction et Allegro, Two Door Cinema Club's Something Good Can Work, and Poulenc's Le Bal Masque

So, for my reintroduction into musical adventure blogging of new pieces with which I'm not familiar, I am taking the opportunity to highlight two pieces in particular which were part of last evening's concert here at IVAI and were performed wonderfully by my colleagues at the festival here. (Call me sentimental, but I am still so affected by the performances from last night that I am posting this practically 12 hours early, AND talking about the pieces that I just heard last night AGAIN!)

Therefore, without further delay--on to the music! (And what wonderful music it is- you're in for a treat here!!)

1. Ravel's "Introduction et Allegro" can be found here on YouTube, and these are my thoughts on this piece: I love the addition of the harp to this ensemble instead of the piano--what a different and more mysterious sound world it gives the whole ambience of the piece!  I also really enjoy the way that Ravel creates such distinct changes of mood with the harp- us…

Taking a few days break...!

Because I sang in a Masterclass tonight, which I will post the video of on here tomorrow, and I am preparing for a concert on Friday night here again at IVAI, where I'll be singing a lot of repertoire, and that means I have to practice my music until then! So, please forgive me for not writing blog entries tonight, tomorrow or Friday night, but I will be back on Saturday and Sunday, so enjoy the break, and go check out your own new music! (That's a challenge, just so you know! :) )

Musical Adventure 3: Mahler Lied, Arcade Fire, Brahms String Quintet No.2

Okay, so I've got some exciting things to listen to this evening, and a few from suggestions from colleagues.  Here they are in no particular order.

1. "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen", sung by Waltraud Meier, composed by Gustav Mahler, and found on YouTube here.  My impressions were as follows: what a beautiful poem, and quite simplistic, but also very poignant.  Waltraud Meier sings wonderfully here in this song, but boy---it seems as if anyone could sing this song well because it's so beautiful!

2. "Mountains Beyond Moutains" by Arcade Fire: This song was recommended by a string player colleague this evening, and I listened to it and liked it a lot. It has a rather lulling experience since it almost sounds like a bunch of tiny fairies singing (because of their voices...) but, I actually really really liked it. It was almost like an adult lullaby.

3. Brahms' String Quintet No. 2 can be found on YouTube here.  My thoughts were: what a really cool r…

Musical Adventure 2: Pearl Jam, Elgar Cello Concerto, Strauss' Elektra

Okay, so tonight's new music for me and my thoughts thereupon were as follows: (And--I'm posting this entry right ON TIME as promised in the entry before last---I'm quite proud! ;) )

1. "Betterman" by the band, Pearl Jam was a song that I found after typing into Pandora as my channel "Counting Crows": catchy tune, loved the guitar playing which made it seem almost like music you'd hear at a blues concert, and good moral to the story of the song. Definitely a classic tune, too.

2. Jacqueline du Pre performing the first movement of Edward Elgar's "Cello Concerto" was found on YouTube and can be listened to here by you: I like the really strong and heroic sound of the orchestral accompaniment on the introduction of the theme and the recurrence of the theme throughout, the thickness of sound that du Pre can get out of the cello on each and every note is amazing and I am really captivated by the expression of the sound that she makes- it so…

Musical Adventure 1: Bach Cello Suite No. 6, Barber's Dover Beach and Elbow's With Love

I've already been quite bad in not listening last evening to the new music that I promised, however, I have done it this morning, and I am planning on being back on track this evening, so please forgive me.  What happened last night was that I was getting some practical advice on what to listen to from my newly moved in neighbors in the dorm here- the string players with whom we will be performing chamber music.

They've suggested my first new piece- Bach's Cello Suite No. 6, which I've listened to on YouTube this morning, and have posted the link here for you to listen to as well.  My thoughts on this piece are in no particular order:

1. Wow- Rostropovich has such an amazingly rich tone color to his playing.
2. This piece is really beautiful and not boring at all for being a completely solo work (without any sort of accompaniment).
3. It kind of reminds me towards the end of the piece, of certain sections of Beethoven's Third that it evokes a pastora…

New Musical Adventure Resolution!

Because of a wonderful chamber music concert that I saw last night during the second half of the opening concert for our IVAI program here in Blacksburg, VA, I have been inspired to re-evaluate my musical knowledge and make a few resolutions to better my overall musical palette, and musicianship in a broader sense.

To give a bit of background as to what spurred this train of thought in the first place, I must begin with the specific repertoire which was performed in last night's concert.  The concert featured the music of Schumann, whom although he's in the typical Western Classical music canon, is not a composer with whom his less popular works are well known to me, as well as the music of a very little-known composer named Ernő Dohnányi (pronounced [doch-na-nee]) whose compositional style resembles that of Brahms, and was a Hungarian contemporary of Bartok and Kodaly.  Interestingly enough, Sir George Solti was even a pupil of his.

At any rate, after listening to Dohnanyi…

Where is Julia now?..... At The International Vocal Arts Institute in Virginia!

Upon arriving in Blacksburg, VA on Tuesday evening of this week, I was excited and astonished at being able to have this wonderful opportunity to spend a few weeks at such a prestigious program, surrounded by highly-lauded Opera professionals, with whom I was able to work on music that I would like to perform or prepare for upcoming performances. And, these first four days here have not fallen short of my elevated anticipations, I can happily say.

Thus far, I have gotten to meet everyone in the program who is a fellow singer, and I have met four new coaches in the disciplines of language (4), stage direction/acting/interpretation (1), and conducting/collaborative piano (2), and I am excited to become acquainted with the entire faculty by the conclusion of the program's activities.

To give a brief description of what I've been up to since arriving here, my days have basically been comprised of the following elements in different quantities of time each successive day: coachings…

The Recital Wrap-Up!

An exciting thing happened recently to me: I performed a Solo Recital here in Reading, PA, and I didn't (for once) walk away from it feeling like I could have done it better.  Sure, there were small things that went awry, as with any live performance, but there was nothing that I really felt needed a little more polishing before it went out there to the audience.  All in all, I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out so well.  (Please, those of you who don't know me and might at this juncture think that I'm a bit self-absorbed, know that I normally am my most harsh critic, and have a tendency to undercut even my most impressive successes, so the fact that this particular recital elicited a response such as this from ME, is pretty huge, I have to say.)

And, as if my own happiness with my singing wasn't enough, I found out after the recital was finished that a lovely woman named Gale Martin, who is the author of the wonderfully written and very informative Opera blog…