The paper is in, life is good... yay! Because of the fact that I've finished my Tchaikovsky research (for now, anyway), I suddenly find myself with nothing to do for over an hour except check my email (140 in my inbox) and make an update. My classes are still going fabulously; I didn't do as well on my second listening exam in the Symphony class as I had wanted, but it was better than I did on the first, so that was good. There's basically no way I'll end up with anything except a B in this class, but that's fine with me, because the professor is very challenging and seems to subscribe to the approach that only the very top students should get As. Now, I'm a top student in some respects, but certainly not in this class, so I'm okay with that. Besides, he drove us to the AMS conference in Houston this past weekend and I had a really nice talk with him on the drive back, so I feel much less intimidated in general.

So yes, the AMS conference... American Musicological Society, for those who don't remember from my other updates... it was too cool! I was working on my paper this weekend, so I didn't participate in things as fully as I might have otherwise, but I still heard several interesting and well-written papers about things I'm interested in pursuing. We also heard an excellent Monteverdi concert on Thursday night (he's a late Renaissance composer, circa 1600). It was a performance of one of his Vespers settings, and I just loved it. My new favorite instrument is the chitarrone (though I've forgotten how exactly to spell it); it's like a lute (which is like a guitar), but the neck is REALLY long, so the instrument itself is about as tall as the people who play it. At one point, one of the singers was standing behind one of the chitarrone players, and I kept waiting for the player to turn suddenly and whack the singer, sort of like the recurring ladder jokes in old movies. =) I also really loved the sound of the curtal, the forerunner to the modern bassoon (this is for you, Jon Julian!). The highlight of the conference for me was the Renaissance manuscript sing-along. The class I'm taking with one of the musicologists here on early notation deals with this music, and so I've just learned how to read it this semester... anyway, there were 40 or 50 people there, all of whom know how to read this music, and we divided into four parts and sight-sang these beautiful motets. It was so much fun. My notation professor came as well, and when the leader pulled out the last piece we were singing, which was in eight parts and very complex, he sat up suddenly, said, "Ooooh!" and got as excited as a little kid. Our class with him has only six students, so it's hard to get the same effect as having a full choir. It was a blast, especially since my friend Jeannette had told me about it from previous years and made me want to go!

In other news, Jack and I bought a new DVD player last night. It's got everything we wanted--a five-disc changer, a radio tuner, surround sound--so it was exciting to find the right combination of everything for a fairly reasonable price at Best Buy. We bought one from them last night that was a display model, and when we got it home, it didn't read DVDs well and the volume was either too loud or too soft (it wouldn't play anything in the middle). We loaded the whole thing back into the car, drove back to Best Buy, and returned it, and they were very nice about it and let us get something else without any hassle at all. Anyway, we had fun playing when we got the better one home; we turned on public radio and listened to classical music in surround sound, and then we watched part of the extended version of The Two Towers (Lord of the Rings trilogy, part II), which just came out yesterday. Fun stuff. Now we don't have to buy a stereo, which I had been thinking seriously about doing anyway because we have only my little boom box (also with questionable volume control) that I got when I was in eighth grade!

I had a few requests last year for my Gershwin paper, so if there's anyone who wants to read a paper on Tchaikovsky's last symphony (it premiered eight days before his death--many would say his suicide), let me know and I'll send it as an attachment. Also, if you want the Rhapsody in Blue paper and I never sent it to you, sorry, and remind me to do it. =) I know I sent it to the Earl of Myers (Lauren's dad), but he may have been the only recipient, since he's a Rhapsody in Blue master and was playing it for an audition! Alrighty... time to make a dent in my email inbox and then go to notation class. Au revoir, mes amis.




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