“Oblivion” — Astor Piazolla

9 06 2011

When I was VFS, I took a Journalism course, and one of the  assignments was to interview someone and then write an article based on that interview (as opposed to simply transcribing the interview).  After researching and ultimately deciding to interview Linda Lee Thomas, the principal pianist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, I went over to her place where we talked about everything from growing up with music, CBC radio and its budget cuts from the then minority Tory government, and tango, which was a big passion of hers.  She dropped a few names of people and words that I had never heard of before relating to tango, and after I finished the interview, I had the tedious task of transcribing everything that was said. Ugh.

Unfortunately, since it’s difficult to spell words — let alone names — you’ve never heard of before, I had to google search a lot of what she said.  One of the names she dropped was a guy named Astor Piazolla.  From my research of him, he was one of the pioneers of tango in Argentina and is well-known for his contributions to the genre.  Linda Lee also mentioned that she was learning to play “Oblivion”, and this was the arrangement that I came across on youtube that I really, really like to listen to.

It doesn’t seem like stereotypical tango music, and it’s more calm than anything, which I really like.  I love the swells and dynamics of the piece and the contrast with the flute and piano… so many things I love about this arrangement.

Listening to this again makes me want to listen to some more tango music now!


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere

15 04 2011

At my high school, the music groups go on trips every year.  Every other year, they’ll go to somewhere closer like Victoria or Edmonton, and the other years, they go out of the country.  When I was in Grade 10, the music trip that year was to Britain for 10 days.  We had to prepare to play a selection of songs with a bunch of other ensembles from other parts of the world including a band from Armenia, which everyone thought was really awesome.  We practiced Rossini’s William Tell Overture, which was one of the most fun pieces I had ever learned to play on the clarinet, and this one: Abba’s “Thank You for the Music”, in memory of a local conductor who would be retiring that season.  I might be wrong about this but I think we only saw him on the last day of the music festival when he actually conducted us.

So imagine this song being played by an orchestra over of over 100 students.  Pretty damn awesome, and I’m not even an ABBA fan.

Dream 7

9 03 2011

From March 7, 2005

I apparently had 3 separate dreams that night that I remembered.  Here’s one of them.

Dream 7, March 7, 2005.  #2 Dream

Like my first dream, my second dream was school-based.  I was at band practice (even though I don’t take band anymore) at possible the old house backyard.  Grace and Philip were siting beside me (Grace does not play clarinet and Philip does not play Clarinet 2.  Also he does not go to my school anymore).  We were rehearsing for this concert we had tonight.  But I played really badly and it [my clarinet] squeaked A LOT!  Then Phil got up and went to go get tape for his fingers cuz they hurt.  It made a lot of noise and Mr. Taylor practically just froze until PHil was done.  I figured my hand was kind of sore too so I grabbed some tape to put it on my hands but decided not to so I put the tape in my pocket.  All the while, Mr. Taylor was not saying anything (no one was) and I put the loud, noisy tape in my pocket.  I decided to go to choir instead.

I walked inside (the house) and saw a few people [something] in, but they were all girls.  Mrs. Comfort was goo glad to see me.  I told her I had been “helping oot” with the band.  There were like couches and stuff around and it looked good.  I went into a room with a few people and saw Alyse who I haven’t seen in 4 years.  She said, “Guess who’s 17?”  Then everyone said “Happy Birthday” and she started dancing, except it was actually Shaopin, not Alyse.  I went out and talked to Melanie for a bit.

I’m not sure if this next part is related or not, but it’s similar so I”ll write.

There was supposed to be a play about Shrek tonight as well, but the person playing Shrek wasn’t there.  So, I had to play Shrek.  Maggie/Melanie gave me my lines, which were something like, “I”m not paying for the oysters!” and often, some wird ones.  The plot was something about this evil guy taking the princess and I had to save her.  Then it got all weird and these faries (?) take this boat covered with leaves and drop it on the bad guy.  With just a few minutes before performance, we rehearsed again but I still didn’t know my lines.  I don’t remember how it ended.

“Time” — Hans Zimmer (Inception Original Soundtrack)

28 01 2011

Since the nominations for the Oscars a few days ago, I decided to take a listen to some of the nominees for Best Original Score.  I have seen How to Train Your Dragon, The King’s Speech, and Inception but seem to be the only person not to have seen The Social Network yet.  127 Hours is also a film I wanna watch though the prospect of watching James Franco cut off his arm is a little off-putting at the moment.  Anyway, I remembered that there was quite a good melody/theme in Inception, and since it had been a while since I saw it, I went on the awesome site that is youtube to hear the soundtrack.

Although I absolutely love the pulse-pounding Inception theme in “Dream is Collapsing”, I particularly like the nostalgia and the emotional impact of “Time”, the closing track on the soundtrack and if I remember correctly, also played during the end credits of the film.  Although I do feel like Inception lacked strong emotional connection with the characters, this track almost (*almost!*) makes up for it.  It’s slow and contemplative in the beginning, add in the orchestra later and it bursts into true Zimmer spirit.

(Eww.  I just had a kettle corn kernel and it tasted like a cherry tomato… yuck.)

I’ve always been a fan of Zimmer, and I think this is a better, more rounded soundtrack than Sherlock Holmes.  I have a feeling this won’t win the Oscar for original score but oh well.  This is a great score nonetheless.

Symphony No. 7, 2nd Movement, “Allegretto” — Ludwig Van Beethoven

10 01 2011

I have not been able to get this piece out of my head.

Since I saw The King’s Speech last week with my sister, there was a particular piece in the (fantastic) film that stuck with my because I had heard it somewhere.  After finding out that it was Beethoven via imdb, I searched on youtube and found it and then I saw it in the related videos.

The Fall!  Of course!  It’s the main theme (I think.  Or at least one of the more prominent ones) from the movie (another fantastic one).

So what to say about this one?  I saw someone’s comment on youtube that said that at one moment in the piece, it made him/her “want to cry and have an orgasm at the same time”, to which the uploader of the video said, “Then the piece is working.”

I personally don’t have many words to describe what a moving, emotional, piece of work this is.  Have a listen for yourself.


One Summer’s Day (theme from Spirited Away) — Joe Hisaishi

8 10 2010

Okay, so this obviously is not Classical music but a film score.  To be fair, this is under “Classical” music after all, so there.  Also, this is a fantastic, beautiful piece composed by the brilliant Joe Hisaishi, who I admire greatly and daresay he’s leagues better than some overrated American composers who I will not name (*coughJohnWilliamscough*).

Every time I hear the broken chords in the first few bars, it makes me sigh with nostalgia, remembering the movie so well and the feelings and emotions I experienced.  Spirited Away is one of my all-time favourite films and this track is full of the spirit of the film in a way I obviously cannot describe (not just because I’m super tired right now).

Anyway, I’m a loss of brain power so I will leave it at that.  If you haven’t seen Spirited Away, then what the f—?!

Le Tombeau de Couperin — Maurice Ravel

2 10 2010

Studying music and listening to it are two totally different things.  I could tell you about Beethoven’s life, his style of music, and how important his works were but have I listened to a lot of his stuff?  Psh, no.  The same goes for almost all the composers I studied while learning music history back when I was taking piano lessons.  Mozart, Haydn, Cage — all those guys.  It was only earlier this year when I met a guy online who lived in Texas who played oboe in an orchestra who sent me a link to a concert where they played this piece: Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin.  He was so awesome he had a solo in it, and man, I was impressed.

Unfortunately, it’s not on youtube so I’m not able to link it but!  I found a fantastic piano version of it, played by Rubenstein, who, I’m not gonna lie, I know nothing about except that he has some pretty good renditions of Classical pieces.


“Dawn” — Dario Marianelli

24 08 2010

From the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack is one of the main themes of the film.  Composed by Dario Marianelli (who later won an Oscar for writing the music for Atonement), “Dawn” is one of the prettiest compositions I’ve heard from Mr. Marianelli.  Partly why I’m posting this here now is because I just finished playing it on the piano and I didn’t know what else to put here.  But it’s good!  Take a listen for yourself.

Claire de Lune — Claude Debussy

13 08 2010

One of the most well-known “Classical” pieces, Claire de Lune has made its way into pop culture with its uses in movies such as Atonement (fantastic movie while I mention it now), mentioned in books like Twilight (apparently, from what I googled just now), and in that car commercial that appeared a couple months ago.  Despite it being overplayed and overused today, I can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful, evocative pieces I have ever heard and it will likely remain one of the few pieces I can listen to over and over again and never get tired of.  I think it is one of the most beautiful compositions ever written and its versatility in how it is used is remarkable as well.

I mainly listen to Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s version from the Atonement soundtrack but I came upon this version just now and thought it was also spectacularly played.  Not sure who plays this one but it’s fantastic, and has clips from Atonement as well.  Enjoy!  (and if you don’t, then there’s something wrong with you — perhaps you’re a cyborg?)

The Last Waltz — Oldboy soundtrack

8 08 2010

I had a dream last night where I was playing clarinet to this piece so it seems like I should write a little about it.  Basically, I was in high school again and I was trying out a bunch of different clarinets and when I picked mine up, the tip was a little broken, which isn’t that uncommon but obviously it’s better not to play with a broken reed.  Then the orchestra started playing “The Last Waltz”, a piece from the soundtrack to the movie Oldboy, and since there’s a clarinet solo in it, I had to play it.  Unfortunately, I haven’t played in a long time so I didn’t know the right fingering for the notes, if at all any, but I knew how it should’ve sounded

Anyway, I realized that dream wasn’t very interesting and I should just post the thing.  Okay here it is.