Grah

Mar. 13th, 2017 06:42 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Reviewing various choral composition competition things, and one of them says:

"The winner will receive a monetary prize of €1000 (one thousand Euro), a diploma and a recording of his opus."

Emphasis mine.

Not going to burn my words on this, because it's directly related to my PhD area and it may well be due to prejudice on the part of the translators rather than the organisers, but this sort of thing does rather get up my nose.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
That was... a lot of work.

Friday I printed some music, packed my bags, and took the train to Hitchen, to arrive at Benslow Music Centre in time for supper.

The schedule was:
18.30 supper
20.00-21.00 Session

Saturday
Breakfast
9.15-10.45 Session
break
11.15-12.45 Session
break and lunch
14.30-16.00 Session/Free time (we had free time)
break
16.30-18.00 Session
supper
20.00-21.00 Session

Sunday
Breakfast
9.15-10.45 Session
break
11.15-12.45 Session
break and lunch
14.30-16.00 Session (we had ours slihgtly early, from 14.00-15.30, in order to get away a bit earlier)

The West Gallery course was rather low in numbers, I think probably the minimum to make it viable really: I had six people, two playing the violin, one playing the ophicleide or singing bass, and three only singing (SAA). So we did a lot of three-part stuff, and I ended up singing tenor nearly all the time. The Ophicleide was great, but way way too loud for those numbers and administration, so he gave up partway through Saturday and switched to singing. He also had to leave early, so for the Sunday afternoon service we switched to me playing bass on the piano and singing what I could while also directing... it sortof worked.

At these things there are a few obvious dangers. One is that people feel they haven't had enough to do, they are there to sing/play but you keep talking at them and they get frustrated. Another is that you only give them easy music and they get bored. A third danger is working them a bit too hard, so that they're exhausted.

I think I erred slightly on the side of exhaustion; with more planning on my part, we would have done a bit less singing in some of the Saturday morning sessions, then a bit more Saturday evening (the last session of the day was almost entirely readings).

The thing that I wasn't keen on was the bit where I couldn't get to church on Sunday morning (or indeed Sunday evening, by the time I got back to London); I'd really prefer not to do that.

All in all it was a good experience and I am already thinking about workshops I could run, perhaps in such a way as to not interfere with Sundays.

Meanwhile -- got the Da Capo entry done, ended up having to ask my mother (who is in Canada) to send them a cheque as I have neither access to a Canadian chequebook of my own, nor the ability to purchase, in the UK, a postal money order that will be accepted in Canada.

Next up: looks like the Uncommon Music call for scores has been extended to 15th March. I don't know if I can finish my piece for it by then but it's worth a go. But after that I really have to work on MALTA, MASNAU and ORTUS competitions/calls, all due at the end of March/start of April.

BOTHER

Feb. 15th, 2017 02:59 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Kirkoskammer competition is only open to people born after 1982, which is NOT ME.

Boo.

Well, I guess at least I finished a piece... really just need to tidy up the score now.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I'm trying to ease myself into this whole "do your academic reading" thing, because Im not entirely sure why I find it such a struggle. I mean, ordinarily I love to read; it's one of my favourite procrastination activities, and I certainly don't limit myself to fiction within that.

I read about 33% of "The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross in an e-book format and then realise that no, I was probably going to want academic books in print. So I bought the paperback, and it's... large. I don't feel like I can face re-starting. I don't feel like I can face picking up where I left off, either.

So instead of that, I decided I'd tackle another book, "O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music", by Andrew Gant. This is a rather slimmer tome than the Ross, and will treat my own subject in a different sort of depth.

Unfortunately, one chapter in, it's already bothering me with some generalisations and inconsistencies. So far, these only have to do with fairly ancient music history, the kind of stuff that's half conjecture anyway; things like not being entirely clear about what Gregorian chant actually was and what it replaced, use of the term "Responsorial psalm" to mean the same form as it typically is sung in post-Vatican II practice without unpacking properly the differences between a responsorial vs antiphonal style of singing, which in any case is in terms of the form of the text rather than the number of participants; that sort of thing. I can understand glossing over the earlier neumes (such as those in the Old Hispanic Office books that we wstill have) as being an aide-memoire, rather than related to handsigns as some scholars believe, because the handsigns thing is pretty niche and not, by any means, universally accepted, but I'm less pleased about the implication that staff notation went from no lines to 4 lines in one smooth jump (rather than various lined staff notations being tried out and experimented with in various regions). Perhaps I am expecting too much; perhaps what I believe to be true is in fact outdated, but without references given in the form of footnotes/endnotes I'm not going to find out.

However, I'm not reading the book for the early history stuff, I'm reading it for the later stuff: partly a better understanding of thow the way the Reformation played out (is playing out!) here influenced sacred music in England (it played out very differently in Scotland, and I am definitely interested in studying that separately); partly a better general knowledge of 20th-century sacred music. My knowledge in both of those areas is probably less than my knowledge of psalmody and plainchant (which in itself isn't extensive, by any means, hence my annoyance at the book), but on the other hand, there is a lot more information available generally, so using the book as a sort of outline for my study of those topics should be fine.

Still, there's only so much annoyance I can take, so let's hope it improves. I will say I am enjoying the tone of the book: I laughed aloud, on this grey day, at "This was the musical world which Augustine inhabited when he picked his way across the sand and shingle of the Isle of Thanet one grey Kentish dawn, no doubt wondering, like Caesar before him, why anyone would leave the Mediterranean sunshine for this." Well, quite. Though currently, I'm jealous of the snow they are getting in North America. I'm Canadian. I miss snow.

Meanwhile -- a bunch more competitions have come to my notice. I haven't quite sorted out which ones are worth my entering yet and none of them have immediate deadlines, so I'm hoping to shift more of the existing stuff from my plate first.

On Sunday I went to St Paul's Cathedral, and the collect for the fourth Sunday before Lent (and the rest of the week, excepting saints days etc) is:
O God,
you know us to be set
in the midst of so many and great dangers,
that by reason of the frailty of our nature
we cannot always stand upright:
grant to us such strength and protection
as may support us in all dangers
and carry us through all temptations;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

(Source: Common Worship)

It's rather apt for the world at the moment. I'm wondering if I can find a public-domain version of it, given that neither Common Worship nor the Book of Common Prayer are public domain in the UK. I wish they would just publish them under CC by-SA, as that would solve a lot of my problems.

There appears to be a Latin version but that doesn't give the publication date or when it was written. However from that I can search for the Latin text, which turns up This CPDL page from which it is possible to discern that the text is, indeed, old enough for the Latin text to be in the public domain.

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