New poem up: We Came.
No new short stories, as I'm currently working on a novel that's coming along very slowly, but which is sufficiently sketched out in my head to keep me going. Too many concerts and exams to prepare for to spend much time writing, but hopefully the summer will be better.
Bach F major prelude and fugue (WTC II)
Beethoven B flat major sonata, op. 22, I. movement (Allegro con brio)
Always With Us
Grotesquery of Tale
This one even rhymes.
New poem: Shaking of the Night.
Having spent several hours putting up the spam blocker, I figure I should now actually post an update.
So here I am in Basel, adoring my school, but feeling slightly overwhelmed with all the new things. I'm looking forward to going home for Christmas to see the beloved family. I seem to spend a lot of my time exhausted, partly because I haven't really got used to everything yet. Practice takes up a lot of time and school is fairly demanding. I'm also working part time, at a small Swiss company where I write lots of emails in English. I'm basically there cause of my language. But they pay pretty well, and that plus a scholarship from school will hopefully cover my expenses. It makes me feel Grownup and Independent not to rely on my parents for semolians.
I'm working on pieces by Scarlatti, Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, and am accompanying a singer in some songs by Schubert and Wolf. I also have a jazz class and a class in fortepiano. Add to this the obligatory classes like choir, ear-training, music theory, music history, etc., and I end up with quite a full schedule. At the moment I have almost no social life whatsoever, but I figure I shall try to remedy this next semester when hopefully I shall have recharged my batteries over Christmas break.
In November I took a few days off to go to Budapest for Thanksgiving weekend. It felt quite surreal being back. After all, Hungary was home for seven years. It was great to see all my friends again, but I don't wish I was back. I'm learning so much here in Switzerland, and it feels invigorating to be in a new country again. I've missed moving to new places every two or three years. I'll probably be here in Basel for at least three years, and then who knows. At the moment I'm just trying to survive the first semester and enjoy it along the way.
The about page has been edited, a few photos changed, and default color scheme switched to green. You can still change colors though by clicking in the upper right-hand corner.
I'm in Basel, but since the first week has consisted of hanging out waiting for school to start, it has not been too stressful. I'm staying at my grandparents' house (they're away for a few weeks) and enjoy having all the space and their lovely Steinway grand to myself. School will start on Monday with the Septemberwerkstatt, a two-week work shop for all first year students. Then there is a two week break and the semester proper starts in the middle of October. I have a trio piece of extreme dissonance I'm supposed to play during the work shop. Hopefully I'll be able to make a recording and put it up here to preserve for posterity.
I think I have defeated the evil spam comments. We shall see. A few non-spam comments may have got erased in the process, btw.
I wrote me a new poem. It's summer vacation and I haven't much to do but watch the rain.
Well, just to get right down to it:
This fall I will be moving from Budapest to Basel. Which is in Switzerland, in case you didn't know. I'm going to study at the Musik Akademie there, which should take 2-3 years. I'm very excited about it. It's definitely time to move on to a different country. I've been in Hungary for almost seven years, which is a heck of a long time. I'm sure I'll miss it though, so I shall get lots of tacky sweatshirts and caps that say "BUDAPEST" on them, and will wear them whenever I feel homesick.
February 6th I fly to Basel to check out the Music Academy there. My first school visit! I get to play for one of the teachers and sit in on some classes. Very much looking forward to it.
Check out my Haydn recording under Classical.
Also, read my new favorite poem. Er, of the ones authored by me, that is.
New poem up. I like it.
I am much busier this semester than really suits my lazy self. There's music of course, lots of practicing, and I'm preparing applications/auditions to a bunch of a different schools. Since some of those schools are in Austria and Germany, I am taking German lessons so's I can speak the language if I get in to one of them. To pay for the German lessons I am doing a lot of babysitting. Fortunately, the kids are very sweet, and I can charge a bit more because I am English-speaking and the parents (who are Hungarian) want their kids to hear English.
I rather feel that things are starting to mount up, and time is starting to run out, so I spent last week completely stressed out. This had the result of me not eating enough and so making myself sick. Not good. I am determined to stay calmer this week.
We have no more riots in Budapest. Just so you know.
Halloween is coming up. I will have to carve jack-o'-lanterns and stock up on candy. Don't forget to beware of ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.
...and to beware of rioters.
- Szabolcs email
No riots is good.. are good.. is good. ;-)
Glad you're doing well.
- Rebekkah--the elder email, site
Holy Cow. Your "About" page still claims I am 16 0.0
That should be fixed.
- Sarah email
- rebekkah--the elder email, site
Check it out, we've got riots:
Haven't had one of these since China (Chengdu). China was worse though. I haven't actually been to any of the protests in the last couple of days and I'm certainly not out there throwing rocks at the police. But I await developments avidly.
It's so embarassing! As a patriot I really feel embarassed for my government and my country. The 50th anniversary of 1956 is coming but instead of celebrating it properly, our Prime Minister goes down in flames and the right-wing keeps fueling the fire... One more scandal like the current one and Hungary goes up in flames... When will my country be back on it's tracks again?
- Szabolcs email
Could you guys at the Bible-study pray for Hungary this Friday? So that things could go back to normal? We need a little prayer support...
- Szabolcs email
Do you not hear the cry of an angry nation, as it demands your blog to be updated?
- Szabolcs email
Okay, I'm here, I'm here, at last to give the long-avoided update. Summer was lots of practice and a bit of travel. I went to Basel to visit my grandfather, which was very nice, and I went to Vienna to visit my parents, which was also very nice. They have a great apartment in a residential neighborhood (lots of broad leafy streets). Vienna is like an upscale Budapest: everything is cleaner and a little nicer. Budapest has more edge to it. Now that the family are only three hours away by train or bus I expect I'll see them more often. I'll even get to go home for Thanksgiving for the first time in three years.
So that was the travel. I hadn't really planned on doing so much practicing, but then it developed I was going to play for a university teacher at the beginning of August, so I had to prepare a program for that. I'm very glad I did, cause it went quite well. She teaches in Graz, where she thinks I could get in, and she told me some about the school. It sounds rather cozy, actually, with one of my favorite aspects being that excepting audition and graduation you don't have any piano exams. Instead you play lots and lots of concerts.
School is starting now, and I have plans to take German and harpsichord as well as the regular subjects like solfege and music theory. The Bible study group I go to has also starting meeting again. Fall is my favorite season in Budapest. There's an atmosphere of faint melancholy tempered with intent. Plus, I get to wear my leather jacket.
Read my article
Very good. Isn't funny how egotisical we were as children? I know I felt all grown up... :-)
- Rebekkah--the elder email, site
Enjoyed reading your article!
Glad you liked it. :) I have a reading public!
- Rebekkah email
I think you need to update, dear namesake.
- Rebekkah--the elder email, site
I should, but I'm off to Vienna for ten days. So when I return...
Haven't you returned by now?
- Rebekkah--the elder email, site
Exams have been conquered! They are ground into the dust! Victory!
Which translates as: I didn't fail anything.
So school is over and there is joy in my heart. I'm going to be here in Budapest most of the summer. Piano lessons continue through the hot months. My only travel plans are to go visit my Swiss grandfather in Basel for a week at the end of July, and then go see my family some time in August. They are moving to Vienna for three years, so I expect to see them more often. Definitely looking forward to visiting them. And my parents have informed me that they are looking forward to coming to Budapest to use their apartment, relegating me to the role of houseguest in my own (well okay, their) abode. But it doesn't matter too much, since I only plan to be in Budapest one more year anyway. I'm going to do another year with my current teacher, and then go somewhere else for my degree. Possibly Austria or Germany. Obviously it's still quite up in the air. One thing's for sure: I should learn some German. So that's also on my to-do list this summer. Along with...learning guitar! Can't be too hard, right? Me = optimistic and clueless beginner. So:
Check out my new baby!
This has been an extremely good school year. Much progress has been made in piano, I think, and I also had so many more friends this year than the previous two. I may be an anti-social introvert, but even I can't stand solitude all the time. This year I got to know a lot more people. A good many of them are leaving over the summer (sob), but there should be new people coming in September.
Right, time to get back to drooling over baby.
Hugh Jackman is the cure for all evils, including bad humor brought about by on-going exams.
Is there a cure? For your evil sarcasm? I find it hard to believe. It is impossible.
- Szabolcs email
Bad humor = bad mood. Not my misuse of sarcasm. But I've no doubt HJ would be a cure for that too.
Sorry, I thought you meant "humour". But if you need something to cure you from your evil cynicism that takes you over sometimes, I suggest Woody Allen instead.
- Szabolcs email
Humor is the American spelling, and humour is the British. Same word. It usually means what you think, as in 'a sense of humor', but a less common definition is mood or temperament.
And I ain't cynical.
Uh, excuse me. I meant "sarcastic". Yeah, "cynical" isn't the right word. Sorry.
- Szabolcs email
Am feeling: somewhat depressed and slightly giddy from lack of sleep.
Have decided: will practice all day with great concentration and focus.
Will be: starting soon, I'm sure.
"Starting: soon" won't get you far... Here is my suggestion: "Starting: NOW". How do you like it?
- Szabolcs email
And don't forget: if your fingers are not stoned because of the exhaustion, that only means you're not practicing hard enough! Make us proud and PRACTICE! >:-D
- Szabolcs email
FYI: I practiced very well on Saturday.
So I've decided to give up music and become a pool hustler. Except first I have to learn to hit the eight ball in last. After Friday night Bible study we now go and play pool. I win if I can get a good partner who will do all the work and let me take a few experimental shots and hope they go in. Sometimes they do. The only problem with pool nights is I sometimes end up being the only girl, which I get tired of after a while. Guys are too nice to you if you're the only girl there, and I feel really spoiled by the end of the evening.
Got lots of piano playing lined up this month. I'm working on a program that I'm going to play for some of my teacher's former students who now concertize/teach. As a warmup to that, I'm going to rope some of my friends into coming over and listening to it. And then at the end of the month I'm supposed to play at a church. Just one piece, while they take the offering, I think. I guess they figure a little Bach in the background might persuade the congregation to be a bit more generous.
I guess I found your blog kinda thing. Suprised?
Pool is a good idea and as I have told you, you really have some skills in it. It's always an honor to be in your team and win.
- Mate email
*cough* I think my team won a grand total of once last time we played. *g*
- Rebekkah email
Happy New Year
New poem up. Actually, it's more a cross between a story and a poem. Can be read here:
Back to school for this little girl. Fuller schedule this year, thankfully. And better classes. I finally got put in a harder music theory group so I don't have to bring a book to class any more. And I have a new solfege teacher (fourth so far) who is a lot better than last year's and actually enjoys teaching us. And, of course, piano piano piano.
I am making an effort to have more of a Social Life, because otherwise I just sit at home in the evening and encourage my already chronic Buffy addiction (Spike! Spike! Spike!). I tried out two different Bible studies last week, both of which were in English. At the first I didn't really meet anyone, so that was a bit of a washout. The pastor was interesting though, very charismatic. He had to be to carry over some of the points he made. Example: "God could have made me a fisher of fish, but he made me a fisher of men. Isn't that AWESOME?" I might use him in a story.
The second Bible study was more fun. Met lots of foreign students (American, Russian, Israeli, and more) all of whom spoke English. There was a lot of chatting and getting-to-know-each-other, and the Bible study was more of a discussion, which suited me fine. Afterwards we went to a place called the Bronze Serpent. It's in the basement of a very rundown building. You go through the dark first floor following lights on the ground that lead you to the steps down. I thought, "Wow, very creepy name." Then I got downstairs and saw various pamphlets about Christian youth spreading the word and realized, "Oh, that bronze serpent." If you go up to the counter to order a drink the selection is mainly coffee, ice tea, or hot chocolate. The guy who runs it is named Mike and has what I think is a New Zealand accent. The pastor at the first Bible study had a British one, kind of like Spike's. (Except not as hot. Gah...come on...I can break this...no more Spike.)
The Fall Festival is coming up, and my music history group is going to a series of modern concerts. One of them is at midnight, underground in a metro station. Program is Schoenberg. Bet it'll be fun.
Budapest appears to have survived all right in my absence. Hungarians seem even more stand-off-ish than usual after Arizona. This is because life in Tucson appears to be very laid-back (in the summer at any rate) and so nobody has anything more pressing to do than be friendly to you. But I guess it's good to be back. Budapest is the city I've lived in the longest amount of time, which is very weird. It is highly unusual for me to be anywhere a lengthy amount of time.
On Friday I am going to hear Radu Lupu. Cheers.
Gotta love spike. ;-)
Hi m'dear namesake. How're you?
- Rebekkah - the elder email, site
I'm doing pretty good. And yes, Spike is unbeatable.
Hmm...I see from your blog you turned twenty. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
Remember that 'Firecrackers' short piece I wrote? Think you commented on it. Anyway, it got accepted by a small magazine. Me = thrilled.
What's new with you?
I was here when I was about five, but that was fourteen years ago. I remember sand and red but not much else. And now I am back...in Arizona. We're staying in Tucson, actually, in a hotel resort. When I first got here and we drove out into the countryside I felt sort of lost. It's so BIG here. The sky is huge and the mountains don't seem to do any closing in. The trees and cacti don't make much of a dent in the horizon. But after a while you start to relax in the heat and enjoy the space. In the morning the air is fresh, but before long stepping outdoors is like walking into a dry oven.
There are lots of animals around here apparently, although so far I have seen primarily rabbits. And they are soooo cute. Brown, small, very big ears. So, um, typical bunny. We also saw a snake the other day. Or rather, Mama saw most of it, I just saw its tail as it wriggled off the road. From the tail I'd say it definitely wasn't a rattlesnake. I may have to go to the zoo to see a rattlesnake.
It was an eleven and a half hour flight (not including waits between connections) from Budapest. I got sick on the way over and quite jetlagged. I got here very late Friday and for Saturday and Sunday didn't do much but lie down. Monday morning I felt much much better. I went into the next room to say good morning to Daddy, who was also jetlagged (having flown here from Washington a couple days before), and when I came back into the room me and my two sisters are sharing, I felt so chipper I did a little dance. Very bad idea. I heard sniggers from the couch behind me and discovered Naomi was awake. Oh well.
There's an Indian reservation near here with a Spanish church and school on it from the seventeenth century where Mama and I went today. The church is painted in very bright colors, but it looks honest not garish. It sort of looks like the pictures and statues are made to tell the stories to children. There was also a museum and a gift shop that had souvenirs from China, Peru, and India.
My parents are trying to buy a house outside of Arivaca, which is a little town near the mountains just north of the Mexican border. We should find out this week whether or not the deal goes through.
My poor brother is back at school, and I think Hungarian schools are starting this week too. But me, I am on vacation. Sweet leisure. No piano here so no practicing for two weeks, which my teacher said is okay as she intends to work me to the bone when I get back. But I do not intend to think about getting back just yet. I am just going to enjoy being lazy and being in Arizona.
Well I am back in Budapest and have three siblings along with me. We have been here two weeks so far and shall be here three weeks more.
The time in Gabon was fun. It got a bit rocky towards the end with Sarah and Naomi starting to quiver at the prospect of leaving their home. They are still in trauma as I write; they want to go back to Libreville but know they won't. So they are trying to drown their sorrow with lots of shopping.
Our parents are in the States, house hunting. They've actually found a house and are in the process of trying to buy it. Meanwhile they are driving around Arizona trying to adjust to being back in the States. They sent a few photos of the area the house is in: it's really nice. Mountains and desert.
I've started piano lessons again and have new pieces to work on. I really really want this to be the last pre-college year, but I dunno how it will turn out. At least I have friends here now; this last year was a lot more fun than the one before. Rumour has it that we're going to get another foreign student at our school, a Swede apparently. Oboist. But that is just the rumour.
Maybe I will take Jesse, Sarah, and Naomi for ice cream today. That oughta chipper them up a bit.
Guess who's in Gabon? That's right - moi, moi, moi. Daddy called one bright Friday morning and asked how I'd like a trip to Libreville. So about a week later I was on my way to Africa and here I still am and will be for two more weeks. Exams and recitals are over, and I'm just vegetating. Okay, I'm practicing a bit too, but not much.
I nearly missed the plane to Paris. This is a terrible form of anxiety. I pictured myself phoning my parents to tell them I'd missed the flight to Paris and so also the one to Gabon and so the expensive ticket was no good now and what do I do. For the record, it wasn't my fault. The airport minibus was supposed to pick me up and it didn't. So I called me a taxi and got to the airport just at boarding.
You wouldn't believe how many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I have seen since arrival. And I didn't even like Buffy until recently. I watched part of the first season with my little sister and decided it was silly and boring and didn't want to watch anymore. Then I watched the second season and decided it was still silly but I totally wanted to watch it, especially any episodes featuring Angel or Spike. As an aside, why do Buffy's vampire boyfriends tend to have dog names?
I feel sort of restless. Maybe it's all the sloth. Maybe it's cause the family is getting ready to leave and things feel In Transition. My dear siblings will be spending five weeks of their In Transition with me in Budapest from July 13th. Naomi wants to buy lots of CDs and drink chocolate milk. Sarah wants to go to movies movies movies. Jesse wants to play WOW on my cable connection (think I should charge him?) My piano teacher will be working me to the bone but I still plan to take part in most activities. Well, maybe I'll skip the chocolate milk.
I had a rawther violent dream last night. Murder and all that. Usually when I dream someone gets killed they just get a bullet in the chest and flop over. Not this time. Very gorey. When the guy killed his maid it made a total mess. And his method of cleaning up afterwards was most inefficient. I mean, he was going at it piece by piece. And the blood was...
Okay, I've stopped.
Summer is practically here and I'm gearing up for exams. After that there are about five weeks before Sarah, Jesse, and Naomi come for the summer. The four of us together in Budapest. Then in August we go back to the States and I finally get a vacation.
Warning: Here be Star Wars III spoilers in abundance
As I'm sure you can gather from the above I saw Revenge of the Sith. It was a definite improvement on the two previous episodes, mainly because we actually got a story this time around, which always helps. The dialogue is still pathetic ("Ani, a wonderful thing has happened. I'm pregnant.") and the acting is still wooden (was it necessary to portray Anakin as a sulky teenager?) but there's some exciting drama going on here nonetheless. The best thing about it is the audience already knows our curly headed Anakin is gonna morph into Darth Vader in this episode and that gives the movie a feel of inevitability and a sense of doom. The slimy Palpatine (a.k.a. the Emperor) and Anakin interact well and you can even sympathize with Anakin's frustration with the irritating Jedi Council. Which of course makes the slaughter of said Jedi Council most satisfying to see.
Now that Padme and Anakin are already married they seem to loosen up a bit and their romance works a lot better than it did in the pathetically forced Attack of the Clones. Natalie Portman doesn't get a whole lot to do, but is quite effective in her final confrontation with Anakin. She does get to wear neat outfits though, including a sort of maternity pilot suit. Anakin, it seems, has been having nightmares about his wife dying in childbirth, and is led by Darth Sidious/Palaptine/the Emperor to believe he can save her through the power of the Dark Side. It's a little hard for the viewer to accept this, but it's made slightly easier by remembering Anakin's dreams of his mother's death in the previous episode were thankfully accurate. And then just to prove his dreams really are worth something Padme actually does die giving birth to Luke and Leia. (Plot hole! Plot hole! Leia says in Return of the Jedi she can remember her real mother and that she was beautiful but sad. Of course, Padme is beautiful and sad as she's lying there kicking the bucket, but I doubt Leia could remember that from the few minutes the robotic nurse holds her up to see.)
The most annoying thing about the movie is that Anakin has the potential to be a very interesting character and instead he's Mr. Obvious. His fear of losing Padme and his lust for power are never played off each other. Nor are they made believeable motives for his morphing into the monster who is Darth Vader. You simply don't believe that the boy who tells Padme at the beginning in typically stilted dialogue, "Our baby is a blessing," is the same person who marches into the Jedi temple to kill the younglings (Lucas-speak for Jedi brats). And of course there is the further problem that Hayden Christensen still can't act. But give him his due: he is exceptionally good at stalking. When he dawns his Sith hood (Sith get really neat cloaks; can I have one?) he stalks most menacingly into the temple. And then later he stalks very effectively around the volcanic planet waiting for Obi-wan to show up for the final duel.
The special effects are of course really good. And I'm fond of light saber duels. And of Ewan Macgregor's Obi-wan, who smirks good-naturedly through the movie. There's a lot to like here, at least if you are a fan of the original trilogy. Seeing all the little ends tied up is most satisfying. The Empire has risen, the Jedi are dead or dispersed, and we know all. But what makes it a good story is the hero-villian, Anakin/Darth Vader. His conversion to the Dark Side is something you don't want to miss.
A very entertaining review---the best I've read so far--and that is from a total of three.
- M email
Today is Pentecost. Just so you know.
I went to a birthday party yesterday. I don't go to parties much. In fact, hardly at all. So it was a bit of a Cultural Experience. And it was quite fun really, despite my being a sheltered anti-social homeschooler who almost never stays up past eleven.
My friend Rebecka turned twenty-one and she wanted a biggish party. So she invited quite a lot of guests, all of whom showed up at wildly different times. I went early in the afternoon to help with preparations. I made an orange cake. *bows* It was a big hit. A Hungarian girl (the only Hungarian who came) arrived at eight and everyone else started coming around nine, although some people didn't get there till midnight. There were around twenty people in a small apartment, but they kinda spilled out onto the balcony, especially the smokers. Some of us only drank plain soda, but the others had soda mixed with vodka. Nobody got rowdy drunk (at least not while I was there), but a couple got cheerful drunk.
I'm not very good at talking to people I don't know, but fortunately the majority of the guests were friendly. There were a lot of different nationalities there: German, French, Swedish (lots of Swedes; Rebecka's Swedish), American, Serbian, and one guy from New Zealand. The two Germans seemed laid-back, the French sort of a little off in their own zone, and the Swedes somewhere in between.
Sebastian, Rebecka's boyfriend, did card tricks. I think your audience for this will be most appreciative if they are not quite sober. There was a slightly tipsy French guy who after each trick yelled, "How the hell did you do that?"; which is definitely the sort of reaction you want.
There was a wrestling game which the Swedes were pretty good at. And a balance-on-this-enormous-purple-ball game which an American (not me) won. I left about one thirty, when the wrestling was still going on. Someone came with me to the bus stop, since the area Rebecka lives in is not the safest (although not really dangerous). My area of town is quite safe, and there were other people straggling home alone at two in the morning besides me. I must say, it's very difficult to stay awake in church the next morning under these circumstances, but I managed, mainly because the sermon was a bit short due to the confirmations they were having. After which I came home and went back to sleep again.
So anyway, that was the party. My one and only really, except for embassy parties. I gather these exchange students (who made up most of the guests) go to these things on a regular basis. Don't know how they manage the late hours. But it was fun, and I also now know how to make a very good orange cake.
Well? So where'e the recipe? Are you keeping it a secret?
- M email
We didn't make the frosting, just cut up orange slices to put on top, and then sprinkled powdered suger over it.
BTW, we used a large wooden spoon to mix the batter up, cause Rebecka said a whisk could take the rise out of the baking powder or something. Is this true?
I checked out your recipe--it sounds good--if I were looking for an orange cake recipe, I would try this one out. Re: the wooden spoon, not being a cake-making expert myself, I would take Rebekkah's advice on this.
- M email
I sort of half meant to clean today, but instead I am sitting here listening to the Swingle Singers. They are totally cute. A little weird, but cute.
One of my piano teacher's students was in a Liszt competition this week. It's in Holland but was broadcast live on the Internet, so I've been following it. Unfortunately a lot of the contestants played during the day when I was practicing but I did get to hear a nice bit of it in the evening. Naturally I was cheering J√≥zsef, my teacher's student, who made it to the semifinals. I stayed up late last night to hear the results. To my disappointment, none of my favorites made the final.
There were nine semifinalists and only three get to play in Saturday's final. One of the three is a Dutch boy whom I didn't hear except for one piece in the first round, but who my teacher (who has also been watching online) said wasn't any good.
The second is a Chinese man, whom I'd selected in the semifinal as definitely not making it further on account of how badly he played the b minor sonata (the main piece of the semifinal). There was a very young Chinese girl who was really good and I was almost sure she'd make it. But the jury didn't ask my opinion. I hope they at least give her the 'best young competitor' prize. This is for the best contestant who is twenty one or younger. She's sixteen or seventeen, I think.
The third is a Russian (yet another guy; no girls in the final). I only heard the end of the sonata from him, which wasn't so great, but my teacher said aside from that he was fantastic. For what brief time I did get to hear him I couldn't pay too much attention to his actual playing as I was too caught up in his Liszt act. It was great. :) He has shoulder length hair that flopped properly down into his eyes the way Liszt's is supposed to have done. When playing big chords he stared up to heaven. Most of the pianists after they finished gave a brief bow, walked off, and then came on for another quick bow before a final exit. Not him. He stood with one hand on the piano as if he had passed through an enormous spiritual ordeal and faced the audience proudly as if to say, "Applaud me." And they certainly did. He stood for several minutes making multiple bows, walked leisurely off, and then returned for more of the same. If Liszt was watching from wherever he ended up I'll bet he enjoyed it mightily. So anyway, I'll try to catch his performance in the final.
J√≥zsef didn't make it to the final, but he was voted the International Press Prize for the best rendition of the b minor sonata. This isn't awarded by the jury but by an international group of music critics. The prize money is equal to that of third prize, and entails a special TV broadcast of his performance of the sonata.
So that's what I've been doing this week, watching and staying up late to catch the jury results. Heard some really good playing and some less good playing, and it was a lot of fun. The final is Saturday and can be viewed on liszt.nl.
Nothing else new except that I have such nice new summer shoes, only right after I bought them it started raining and hasn't stopped since, so I am back wearing boots. It reminds me of that annoying song from Bambi Sarah used to sing, about drip-drip-drip little April showers.
Have a good weekend!
Piano competitions, bleh, how degenerate...
So is the apartment clean now:-)
- M email
P.S. It's too bad Jozsef didn't make it to the finals.....but it's very nice that he won the prize.
- M email
Okay, yet another recording added, mainly for Mama's benefit since she is a Bach fanatic.
I think you are listening to your recordings with a jaded ear---like someone who is rereading their own short story for the umpteenth time.
First, the Bach...the voices are nicely distinguished, touch sounds very good and I like the tempo...also I especially like your way with the Fugue
The Schubert sounds really good....what more do you want out of a fairly basic recording system....the
interpretation is hear-able nevertheless
Add some more :-)
- M email
New short story and recording up. Another story should be forthcoming shortly, depending on how lazy I am.
Disclaimer: I really do think these recordings are pretty terrible. I'm reluctant to get rid of the music gallery since it rounds out the site so nicely, but the recordings themselves are blah. And to top it off, the piano needs to be tuned. Oh well.
Happy Easter everyone!
The concert was yesterday afternoon and it went pretty well. The program was fortunately short. I played a Scarlatti sonata, which sounded all right, and a Schubert impromptu which sounded less all right. The piano was TERRIBLE. Too old. The keys stuck and the sound died out very quickly. The Schubert suffered a lot more from this than the Scarlatti. I also had a couple of memory lapses, but kept on going. You have to resist the urge to go back and fix what you played wrong. If you do that then everyone knows you messed up, as compared to just suspecting it.
Oh yes, I got lots of flowers. *g* But this was not due to my (un)brilliant performance but because I helped arrange the program. I'd actually bought flowers recently, so now my apartment smells like a florist's shop. Which is a nice smell. :)
After the concert I treated myself and went to see a movie in the middle of the day, The Phantom of the Opera. I enjoyed seeing it once as a spectacle, but certainly wouldn't want to sit through it again. The whole thing is very overdone and the music banal and very very LOUD. Of the actors Emmy Rossum was best. She quite surprised me, actually. I'd heard a clip from the soundtrack before seeing the movie and her voice reminded me more of Mandy Moore than Kiri Te Kanawa. Sweet, but no power. No way could she be an aspiring opera singer. But in the movie all the singing was magnified, so she sounded better. And singing aside, she not only made a gorgeous Christine but her acting was quite good too. Quite the most convincing of the characters. One question though: what on earth does she see in Raoul? Totally blah guy. No oomph. And a very dorky hairstyle. The Phantom now...I must admit he overdid all his songs and his acting was also strained. May be fault of the director, I don't know. But the point is, he was a lot more attractive than the guy Christine ended up with. If I were her, I'd have said, "Sure, go ahead and strangle Raoul. This is an awfully nice cave you have." But she didn't say that. One review expressed disappointment with the unveiling of the Phantom's disfigurements, stating truthfully that he just looked like a hunk with a drooping eye. Speaking of which - the word 'hunk' always reminds me of my little sister. Naomi once asked, in a tone of deep intellectual curiosity, "Which is it better to be: a Heartthrob or a Hollywood Hunk?"
I have two short stories and a new recording to put up here, but am still in the process of rewriting and seeing if I can get a better take. Hopefully it won't take too long.
Finally: a girl in my solfege class said I was crazy.
"Crazy!" I sniffed.
"No, I mean creative."
Sure. Real synonym there.
I think she was right the first time.
- R email
If you look up in the right hand corner underneath the copyright statement you will see various color links. These are for changing the color scheme of the site. If you get tired of all the gray for instance, you can see what everything looks like green or blue. Suggestions/comments welcome.
Why didnt you like hide and seek? I thought you were looking forward to that?
It wasn't scary enough. You guess the end long before it's revealed, and it's revealed sometime before the end. So the last twenty minutes are spent watching everyone run for their lives and wondering how many will end up a corpse. I was hoping for something more exciting from the imaginary friend angle. But Charlie had nothing on George.
That whole kind of ending (the type Hid and Seek ends with, I looked it up on a Spoliers site) is getting a bit old by now *shakes head* can't they try and come up with new ideas?
New music addition in the Baroque section. Recording is frustrating. I can't get anything mistake-free. I finished the first draft of a short story over the weekend, and when I get around to rewriting will post it up here.
I'm playing in a concert in about two weeks. The kids of American diplomats working here are giving a recital at the ambassador's residence and they invited me to play too. I'm going to play a Scarlatti sonata and a Schubert impromptu. I hope it goes okay. I have no idea what the level of play will be, or what the piano will be like.
I went to see three movies last week. Too many. The titles in order of viewing were: Luther, Hide and Seek, Finding Neverland. I dunno, I didn't think any of them were too good. I liked Closer which I saw the week before. It probably works better as a play, but is enjoyable on film as well. Finding Neverland was the best of last week's three I guess, and quite sad. I went with two friends and they both cried. It's not nice to be the only one not crying. Hide and Seek wasn't scary in the way I'd hoped it would be. Luther was silly but enjoyable.
Having gone to bed late last night I am horrendously sleepy and so shall close here. Good night.
I would like a comment, please. A simple 'top of the day' will do.
See over there? ------>
New link. I've added a music gallery. Which has a grand total of one piece in it. Shortcut here:
Debussy: Jimbo's Lullaby (Children's Corner)
Okay, so it's not a great recording, despite the fact it's a simple piece. But hey, I'm still getting used to this. I'm trying to get into a the-microphone-is-your-friend mindset (ha!). So even if I don't sound good I'm going to record anyway, in the hope that hearing my mistakes will make me improve. The sound files are hosted on our family web site; everywebhost.com, though excellent in many ways, won't let me host them here.
I'm working on a most gorgeous Schumann at the moment: the Fantasiebilder movement from Faschingsschwank aus Wien. Katalin said she had students who used it for their audition to the Academy, but unfortunately they now demand more difficult pieces. Blah. But it's a really nice piece anyway. At one point La Marseillaise comes in, and I pound it out with great enthusiasm. Which is peculiar, because usually anything connected with patriotism leaves me distinctly chilly. No way could I pound out the Star-Spangled Banner with enthusiasm.
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so I think I shall take this oppurtunity to drop a delicate hint: anyone who wants to send me an e-valentine is more than welcome to.
How truly delicate.
We enjoyed Jimbo...put some more on. The sound quality is actually pretty good when we hooked the laptop up to the speakers.
- M email
I had a piano exam last Saturday (yes, Saturday; and in the morning too). It was written up as starting at ten so I showed around a quarter till. My exam, I was informed, wouldn't be for another hour. Big surprise. This is the way scheduling works at this school. So I practiced for a bit, warming up, and then was called upstairs from my practice room to wait, while my hands started to get nice and cold again. Finally I got to go in. I must say, I wasn't very nervous. I'd made up my mind just to ignore the teachers sitting there. And I played pretty well. One thing I missed though: I couldn't really enjoy myself. When I gave the concert in Gabon, I was nervous during the first half but still managed to play all right. In the second half, I was just happy to be playing such nice pieces for the audience. And that's a good feeling. Didn't come this time. Hopefully it will happen more often.
My teacher couldn't make it to the exam (she doesn't teach at this school, I go to her privately), but the head of the piano department called her afterwards and apparently enthused at length on my progress. Yay. :)
Well toodles, and everyone leave lots of comments.
For some unknown reason I got the urge to write about the civil war that broke out when we were living in Central Africa. I don't know why. And I don't know why I can't come up with a title that is other than pathetic. Check it out if you have time and kindly give me suggestions:
Firecrackers: memories of civil violence
Very neat. Sounds like something out of a book.
- Rebekkah- the elder email, site
Sounds authentic. I enjoyed reading it.
- M email
Nothing like a good murder...actually, the movie was entitled A Perfect Murder, but it wasn't that. 'Cause the villian gets caught, poor thing. I like to cheer the villians. And in both this and in the movie this is a remake of (Dial M for Murder), the villian has the most charm of any of the characters. Charming villians I root for. Same with likeable jerks.
I am feeling slightly down, which probably means I should get out of the freakin' apartment and go do something. The Hungarian winter is awfully depressing. It was very grey out today, with the kind of miniscule flakes of snow that do no more than put a dab of white on the ground and confirm what your frozen toes are telling you about the inclement state of the weather.
Gah. I need to do something. Guess I'll settle for homework.
I love winter....
- Rebekkah- the elder email, site
I dunno...I think winter here is one reason Hungary has such a high suicide rate.
- Rebekkah email
Hee hee, I thought this was funny. Introverts unite!
It is remarkably dreary here weather-wise, which makes me feel blue blue blue. Lessons and practicing have got off to a reasonably good start, but I sure get tired of the cold and dark. I didn't grow up with winter and I don't think I've ever got a hundred percent used to it. It's nice leading up to Christmas, but afterwards...
Well, here I am back in Budapest. I got home from the airport about ten last night, but of course I didn't go to sleep without surfing and reading first. Not surprisingly, I could barely keep my eyes open in church today. I think a brief sleep is in order before I do a little practicing.
It's awfully disorienting coming here from Africa. But as I poke around the apartment, putting things away, testing out how my pianer survived my absence, it is starting to feel like the beginning of a new year, not just the end of an old one. I hope I do a lot this semester. I have a couple of projects to start on this very week in fact, the first being a music gallery to add to this site. I downloaded a recording program, as it is very useful to record and listen to yourself. Useful, but somewhat horrifying. Anyway, if I ever get a reasonably passable recording of any piece, I'll put it up here.
Poor Jesse is still en route back to the States. I am always glad I am coming from Budapest vs. South Bend. Of course, now I can no longer crow over that, as from this summer the whole family will be in the States already and I will be the only one trekking from overseas to join the joyful gatherings. For now I'm glad I don't have any plane trips in the near future. One sure drinks a lot of coke on planes. At least, I tried to. But the steward told me that coke isn't good for you, you can't tell what's in it, and he only drank it when he was tired of life. So here, why don't I try some sweet pear liqueur. I tried one sip and it tasted pretty awful. So after laughing at the expression of my face he gave me some coke.
So now here we are, back again. Ready for practicing. But first...a little snooze...
Water is good.
Hmmm... Looks like you should add a line that makes sure there's content in the e-mail field before creating a link.
- James again
Good idea. I should also add a 'your link' field to the comment form.
Yes, water is good. That's what Jesse asked for, and he got it without being required to taste any nasty pear liqueur.
- Rebekkah email
Happy New Year! I oughta have champagne or something to celebrate the opening of the new site. But then, I don't drink champagne. Last night I consumed pink lemonade. So, any visitors are welcome to their choice of cyber champagne or cyber pink lemonade. I don't think you'll find much difference between the two.
What do you all think? The site is very new, as you can see, and I'm looking for suggestions. Do you think the menu looks good over on the right there? How do you like the color scheme? Do you find the photo as sulky-looking as I do? That last will be replaced soon, I hope.
I have one more week here in Gabon before flying back to Budapest. I hope I work hard and make a lot of progress this year. No doubt I shall. 0:)
The family gave a Christmas party right after I got here. This included punch, dinner, Christmas carols, and listening to me play the piano. Six pieces. I was nervous at the beginning but then I relaxed and just thought how lucky the audience was to hear such nice pieces. Heh heh. Actually, they were lucky, because they almost never get to hear live music.
Most of my writings are up on this site for safe keeping if my computer crashed and wiped out my files or something. The majority are viewable by the public but some of the earlier ones are for my benefit only. ;)
Well, have a look around and do tell me what you think!
Just testing the comments system. :)
- Rebekkah email
Hiya- actually, I moved my blog to xanga, just so you know. I'll email you the address.
- Rebekkah-the elder email
I think it looks great! Maybe mixing more neutrals into the color palette would make it more professional and less 'sulky'. Sulky is good, tho, lol! :)
- Taleia email
Cool! I think it all looks nice. Here's looking at you, kid!
- Caryn email
New web site is up and running!
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