The Great Mozart Marathon: Episode 3

 

Okay, I’ll get this out there now… I don’t really like the harpsichord. It’s kinda like the slide guitar of the keyboard world for me. (And yes, I know it’s old and the technology moved on and all that, but still.)

I did quite like the 1st movement though, despite that. But while I’m doing comparisons that everyone else will probably not see, the 2nd movement sounded a bit like the UB40 of classical music. Yes, Mozart was 7 or something years old when he wrote this so comparing him to some musicians who have somehow made a living with their elevator reggae for 40 years or something may not be very fair, but I stand by it. The 3rd movement didn’t leave much of an impression at all. (Maybe I was still thinking about UB40 and my mind was mush.)

So, nothing revelatory today but I thought I needed to get the next episode done or I’d be doing this until I’m 72.

The Great Mozart Marathon: Episode 2

 

Mozart’s first violin sonata. This was his first composition for more than one instrument and it seems to me his first real attempt at a proper composition (though I’m no expert). The previous ones seem more like exercises in composition. (Yes, I know, he was 5 or 6, give the kid a break.)

I hated the first (Allegro) movement. The harpsichord just seemed to repeat ad-infinitum in the background. The second (Andante) movement, though, I enjoyed. Much more harpsichord movement and it seemed that the violin worked with it more instead of just hanging out in the same piece of music. Overall the piece is obviously much more advanced than the previous ones, so any sort of comparison (for me) is hard.

So, that’s all from me. Stay tuned for the next violin sonata…

Around the World in 205 Books

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With my Great Mozart Marathon off and running it is time to introduce my next “project”.

I do quite a bit of reading (though I am pretty slow) but generally stick to fantasy and science fiction. And I generally stick to the more well-known (in the west) authors. Now, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, but I thought I would try to branch out a bit anyway. So, as the title of this blog entry suggests, I am going Around the World in 205 Books.

I’m reading The Scar by China Mieville at the moment (and loving it, BTW) but after that I’m going to find a book by an author from Afganistan because Afganistan is the first county in an alphabetical list. Or, failing that, a book set in Afganistan or… You get the picture. Then Albanian, Algeria, Andorra and so on. All the way to Zimbabwe. According to my list, which I found on the American State Department website, that is 205 countries. (Though somewhere else on the web said there were only 196 countries, so who knows. My list does include Taiwan, which technically isn’t a country, but I’m not sure where any other discrepancies might be, unless some new counties have formed recently.) Anyway, 205 it is.

After each book I’ll be doing a review. Or at least posting something about it. And I am not guaranteeing to finish every book. If it is crap I might just dump it and move on to the next country (and come back to that one later).

At this point, my choice for Afganistan is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. He does live in American but has the required background and, I have to say, there really weren’t all that many choices that I could find. If someone else has any suggestions, be sure to let me know. If there are any suggestions for the upcoming countries, let me know them as well.

If it comes down to a choice between two books that sound interesting I will be probably be leaning towards books by women, just because, and books that are shorter, for the obvious reason that I will probably be doing this thing for the rest of my life, (one a month is about 17 years…) especially since I will not just be reading books for this challenge.

So, let me know what you think. Offer some suggestions. Offer to accompany me on this wild and wonderful (and bloody crazy) journey.

The Great Mozart Marathon- Episode 1

So, it’s been a while since my crazy Year of Poetry ended and I was looking for something else to do. (I wasn’t actually, but you know.) So, now I have it, my new project. The Great Mozart Marathon.

What I will be doing is listening to every one of Mozart’s compositions chronologically. Well, that’s the plan. I will be looking for them on YouTube so I don’t have to pay, and it is quite possible (though unlikely) that I won’t be able to find some. If that happens I’ll see what else I can do. (If I miss any, please let me know.)

Now, I’m not an expert on any type of music and I picked Mozart ‘randomly’. (The other choices were probably Bach, Beethoven, Handel and Hayden. They seem like the big names to me though, as noted earlier, I’m not an expert.)

So, I’m starting right now with his first few short works.

 

I don’t want to keep saying “I’m not an expert” so I won’t and I’ll just have to hope that people coming along later pick up on that fact on their own.

But, to me, the jump in the maturity of the music after the first two piece is noticeable. (Admittedly, this could also be about the performance.) According to the website that I’m getting the list from (http://www.mozartproject.org/compositions/) the first ones were written in ‘Early 1761’. The rest were from Dec 1761 to Jan 1762. (All were written in Salzburg, which probably isn’t really relevant to the level of dissecting that I’ll be doing 🙂 .) Minuet in F and Allegro in F are probably my two favourites. (Maybe I just like F?)

Anyway, that’s it for today. Stay tuned for more episodes in the Great Mozart Marathon. These episodes will come along whenever I feel like it. I will not be trying to keep to any type of schedule with them. I will be announcing another ‘project’ ver soon as well. That will not be run like clockwork either.

Excerpt: Age of Heroes

Here is a small excerpt from The Age of Heroes. I’m working on the sequel at the moment. I should have finished ages ago… I am still moving forward with it. Hopefully it won’t be too long now.

 

***

 

Rawk sat on the edge of the bed and catalogued his aches and pains. Arm, knee and back. Not as bad as he would have expected.

Adalee couldn’t be blamed for the knee or the arm, but the sore back was all her fault. There was movement behind him and he turned to look at the girl. She sat up, sheet clutched to her breasts, much more demure than she’d been the night before. Several times. He turned away from her and tried to soak up the last calm moment he was likely to see that day.

But she was just a girl. How old had she said? Nineteen? Twenty? Not old enough to know. He felt her arms slide around him from behind and she nibbled his ear. “Shall we dance again before breakfast, my Hero?”

Rawk sighed. “You won’t be having breakfast, Adalee. At least not with me.”

“What do you mean?”

“You should get your things and go.”

“You… But…”

Rawk turned to look at her. “What did you think was going to happen?”

“You can’t treat me like one of your tavern sluts, Rawk. I am Adalee Dan Beketh. If my parents—”

“Wait? What? Who?”

The girl looked a bit smug. “That’s right. My father is Edwin Dan Beketh and if he hears—”

“You’ll tell your father?”

“Well…”

But Rawk didn’t care about her father. “How old did you say you were?”

The sudden change of topic confused her. “I will celebrate my twentieth name day in four weeks.”

Rawk tried to think. He tried to calculate. Melia Dan Beketh? The two headed snake, what a crock that had been, or the giant bear thing? He couldn’t remember; it had been so long ago. And even if he knew if it was the snake or the bear, how long ago had they been? Maybe Weaver would know. He sighed again. “Go home to your mother, girl.”

He turned to watch as she flounced from the bed and made her way around the room collecting her clothes. He had to admit, she was beautiful, and it had been fun. The first time had been fun. Even the second. After that it had just been hard work. When she had laced her shirt up over her breasts Rawk though he should do something about finding his own clothes. But she paused on her way out the door.

“You’d think a man like you would have more in his life than…” She looked around and gestured at the room. “Than this.”

Rawk looked as well. He shrugged. “So people keep telling me. Apparently I’m supposed to grow up.”

“Maybe this frugal, monk-like existence impressed women when you were my age, but now it’s just sad.” Adalee huffed and slammed the door behind her.

Rawk winced. “That went well.” He thought he might well have a visit from Melia in a couple of days. It was years since he’d even seen her so that would be nice.

Rawk wondered if he should do something about redressing his arm when there was a knock at the door.

“Yes?”

Travis came in with a jug of hot water and a large copper bowl. Again. “I saw Adalee leaving.”

“You knew who she was?”

“Of course.”

“You didn’t tell me.”

“I assumed you would ask her.”

“Well… Was she going quietly?”

Travis laughed. “Do you want to do a fresh poultice or just, you know, breathe.”

Rawk worked the muscles in his arm. “A bit of poultice, I think. But I was going to do some more of the breathing thing too. It really cleared my head yesterday and, seeing I drank a bit too much last night, I was hoping it would work again.”

While Rawk worked at the bandage, Travis set about organising the bowl. He cleared his throat but didn’t look up. “I’m not going to be working tonight,” he said.

Rawk raised an eyebrow though the other man still wasn’t looking. “You aren’t? It’s Faraday, isn’t it?”

“It is.”

“You always work on Faraday.”

“Normally, yes.” Travis started working on the poultice. “Can’t trust anyone else.”

“So…”

“There’s a show on at the Veterans’ Club. I thought I’d go to see it.”

“A show? You?”

“Yeah. What of it? I can see a show if I want.”

Rawk held up a hand. “Of course you can. Do whatever the hell you want.”

“I was going to ask somebody…”

Rawk raise the other eyebrow. “Oh. Right.”

“Only…”

“No. There’s no ‘only’. You’re too old to be waiting. At your age if you stand still too long you fall over dead. I’m sure I heard that somewhere. Sylvia would know. You do it, Travis. That’s an order. Ask whoever it is and have a great time.”

“Do you think?”

“Get out of here, I’ve got some breathing to do.”

Rawk shoved his head under the towel and listened to the other man leave. Travis was just a couple of months older than Rawk. Was he too old to be waiting? Too old to be standing still?

Do you think? Not as often as I should, apparently.

Rawk kept his head under the towel for a few minutes. It did help, but he had too much on his mind for it to calm him as it had the night before. With a sigh his sat up and looked around.

His trousers were at the end of the bed. His shirt was in the corner, but it was almost torn in half. He remembered something about that but the details were lost amidst a flurry of thighs and breasts and eager hands.

He donned some new clothes, threw a cloak over the top, collected his sword and headed down stairs.

****

If you liked that and want to read more, you can do so… here.