oldest recordings and wolfie!

Au Clair de la Lune
^ We listened to this in class yesterday. The first part is the world’s oldest recording, a 15-year-old girl singing “Au Clair de la Lune” from 1860. Soooo crazy. Some of the comments on the video likened it to the voice of a ghost, because it’s so scratchy. It is pretty eerie when you think about it. Apparently it wasn’t meant to be played back, just to record the pattern that sound waves made. So it’s amazing that we actually CAN play it back, and you can in fact distinguish the words (though in French), and that the melody is clearly there. An Edison recording of the same song is played at :45 (how far we’ve come…and even now the Edison recording is considered “primitive”). I’m writing my final paper on the history and development of recorded sound, so this stuff is fascinating to me.

OH and I nearly forgot (but didn’t, thanks to the equally nerdy people in my music theory class) that it’s Mozart’s birthday! Thus, another video from Amadeus is in order (still can’t top the Sexyback vid, but almost as awesome!)

discoveries and quotes

Whoa whoa whoa HELLO AND WHOA, I just found out today that The Last Tycoon (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel, which I read over winter break) was made into a movie! What’s more, it stars Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson?! I am soooo intrigued.

The Last Tycoon was a fascinating read, although Fitzgerald died before he could finish it. There was one passage I loved so much that I wrote it down in my paper journal:

Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backwards trying – only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.

I feel like I can relate. I dunno, sometimes I feel like a million different people trying to find one to identify with. I also remember a part from Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography about writers being “nice people but not very giving…whatever they know they like to keep between the covers of their books.” I’m not saying I’m a writer by any means, just that thoughts like these make me feel like one, haha.

On a completely different note, Neil Young made a new music video with just a webcam, an apple, and some headphones. It’s pretty amusing. He reminds me of a mix between Jack Nicholson and my dad.

i love this.

The Psalm Of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!–
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

I feel more like a music major every day

My current obsession is in the form of a song. More specifically, it’s the 3-minute introduction to Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto. I really can’t find words to describe it, but about 2 and a half minutes in, I feel like the strings are gripping my heart and pulling me up into the heavens, haha. Meanwhile the piano is pounding away…it’s such a great contrast. Tchaikovsky is the man. I started to get really into his music after listening to the 6th Symphony on a record I found at home. Everyone is familiar with his ballet works, but there is so much more amazing stuff to be heard.

Nowadays my YouTube usage has been geared toward finding performances of classical pieces that I love. Am I a nerd? Answer: very yes. I also got a $15 itunes gift card for Christmas, and what do I spend it on? A whooooole bunch of classical music. Anyway, here are some of my favorites:

*Adagio for Strings – Barber. It’s so powerful…so sad. A thousand images could be put to this piece.
*Pavane Pour Une Enfant Defunte – Ravel. It was originally for piano and then made into an orchestral work, but I love this version.
*Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 4 – Beethoven. Listening to this is pretty exhausting, haha. It might sound crazy, but this ending reminds me of the final push in a drum corps closer; it has just as much energy and I bet performing it gives the same amazing rush.
*Andante Cantabile – Tchaikovsky. Seriously, sometimes I think there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of cello.
*Piano Concerto No. 20 K466 – Mozart. Not gonna lie, whenever I hear this I think of Salieri being wheeled through the asylum at the end of Amadeus…nevertheless, it makes me really happy. I love Mozart.

[Side note: I’ve had that Mozart-in-aviators picture saved for at least 2 years, and have just been waiting for a reason to post it. The day has finally come!]