Beethoven and Bauhaus

Thursday night was the symphony, which was just wonderful. It opened with Mozart’s overture from Don Giovanni. Not my favorite piece in his repertoire, but lovely and well executed. Next was Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony. Bleah. Not a fan. I have a few pieces by him, he’s always been extremely hit and miss for me, and almost always a miss. It’s just noodling to me, and I hate noodling. Virtuosity for its own sake bores me. The last piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which was absolutely transcendent. Best of all, I got to watch my Paramour listen to it, in all his composerly glory. Sigh. Speaking of dashing men, WMFH looked quite handsome and stylish in his vest and pocket watch. It’s always nice to see a man who can rock anachronistic fashion without looking cartoonish. It suits him well. Speaking of anachronisms, I was working a long, black Regency style dress, with my 6ft strand of pearls and a teal blue butterfly wrap. I think I looked pretty fly, however the only photo of me that turned out was taken at the last minute in the ladies room and I looked about as drunk as I was (I had one too many Cosmos with dinner. Oops). I had this fabulous Audrey Hepburn moment as my Paramour escorted me down the long staircase of the concert hall on his arm, both of us giggling and racing to get home and fall into each others arms. Of course, as we were leaving WMFH was asking if I was headed back from the big city to our bucolic neck of the woods (100 miles away), and I had to tell him I was staying at the Paramour’s house. That’s an awkward conversation, seeing as he knows I am married. I don’t want to be TMI, but at the same time I don’t want him thinking I am just randomly stepping out on my husband. I’d rather he thought I was a slut than bad wife. I am trying to figure out how I could casually explain the situation to him without it getting weird. Not that ultimately I owe him an explanation.
Me at the Symphony
Because nothing says “classy” like a drunken self-portrait taken in the Benaroya Hall ladies room during intermission. And, yes, I am standing up, not using the facilities.

Paramour at the symphony
I was teasing him about being my cicisbeo.

I spent the next day drunk from noon on, because he’s a bad influence and we are like a middle-aged Sid and Nancy. Cruising around Seattle with my Paramour, listening to 80s dance and goth music at top volume, and shopping for used books and records was the most fun I have had in years. It was one of those “born-again teenager” moments that is a bittersweet mixture of nostalgic and pathetic you only have when you are in your 40s. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, we had Siouxie and Ultravox on the radio, we had nowhere to go but where the wind carried us, we were in a state of obsessive infatuation, and we had the big city at our disposal for the rest of the day. We ended up later that night, drunk on the pier, waiting for the ferry, doing impersonations of Paul Lynde, singing New Order songs at the top of our lungs and waxing poetic about how young, goth, and beautiful we once were whilst intermittently manhandling each other in a fit of uncontrolled passion. Publicly not my best moment, but we were having a blast, and sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it”. Also, I learned that drinking and shopping don’t mix. I bought a book of post-war German poetry, a German-English dictionary, and for reasons I can’t quite fathom a Lawrence Welk album and an autographed album by Cleo Laine, who, to the best of my knowledge, only existed on The Muppet Show.

All in all, it was a heady, frolicsome, romantic, passionate, decadent, wonderful couple of days. France is not ready for us. School is out for the next week and a half, I need some rest for a few days, then it’s back to blogging etc.

Mozart’s Overture from Don Giovanni

Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Cleo Laine – He Was Beautiful (seemed appropriate…)

New Order – Age of Consent (the song we were singing at the pier)

Paul Lynde – The Best of Bewitched

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Wild Men

Yesterday was the end of class for this quarter. Finals have been taken, papers have been written, everything has been handed in. Today I drive to my Paramour’s island and we will go to the symphony for Beethoven’s 5th (extra credit for the music class). WMFH will be there as well, so it should be an interesting evening. I am going to take the weekend off to catch my breath, but I plan of returning to blogging next week. In the meantime, enjoy this link:

Europe’s Wild Men: They become bears, stags, and devils. They evoke death but bestow fertile life. They live in the modern era, but they summon old traditions.

Music Monday – Classical Music

I love classical music, but I am woefully ignorant of it (hence Herr WMFH’s Music Appreciation class. Hey, it isn’t all about me being a man crazy nympho!) I am one of those hunt and peck classical fans. I listen to things I like, follow the recommendations on eMusic (I hate iTunes, they are overpriced and draconian in their restrictions), and generally just try to find things that work for me. I used to buy albums (that’s vinyl LPs, kiddies) at used record stores just to try things out. I have no idea if what I am listening to is considered “good”, I just know I like it. I tend to like Beethoven for symphonies and Wagner for opera. Chopin gives me serious girl wood. Literally, listening to Chopin physically turns me on, I’m not kidding. I recently discovered Faure’s Requiem and fell in love with his shimmering, icy, angelic beauty. I have a total crush on Gustav Mahler, his music has this brilliant awkwardness to it, as if he’s a brooding teenager who desperately wants to say something profound but it never comes out right. And people can smack talk Sarah Brightman all they want, she has an incredible voice and flexibility, I don’t care if she was a disco biscuit in her day.
After memorizing (and now being able to recite from memory, thank you very much) “Der Erlkönig”, my next German conquest is learning to sing “Ode an die Freude” from Beethoven’s 9th. Unfortunately, because I was always stuck in the 1st tenor section in choir that’s all I can manage to sing in a choral situation (I’m actually a Dramatic Mezzo Soprano, but I project best in my lower register. When I was singing daily my voice was like a weapon: strong, loud and powerful. Sadly, I am completely tone deaf and lack the precision to actually do anything with it. In other words, I’m a total Ethel Merman).

Most Played Classical Tracks This Week
Tristan & Isolde: Isoldes Liebestod – Richard Wagner
A Village Romeo and Juliet: The Walk to the Paradise Garden – Frederick Delius
Lohengrin Prelude to Act III – Royal Philharmonic/Richard Wagner
Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, “Heroic” – Chopin
The Flower Duet (Lakmé) – Leo Delibe
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Ging heut morgen übers Feld – Gustav Mahler
3 Gymnopedies: 1ere Gymnopedie. Lent et douloureux – Erik Satie
Messe Basse – Kyrie eleison – Gabriel Fauré
Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57 – Chopin
Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 1 – Johannes Brahms
O Mio Babbino Caro – Maria Callas/Puccini
Finlandia: Op. 26 – Jean Sibelius
9th Symphony (Choral) – Ludwig van Beethoven

“Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?”

Yesterday was my German final, and rather than being relieved I just feel a little bummed. We reconvene after the first of the year (and I am also taking my German instructor’s music appreciation class, which I am SUPER STOKED about), but I am enjoying going to school, so the idea of being stuck at home for 3 weeks with nothing but a massive pile of 800 year old reading and mythology analysis to do makes me groan like a teenager being asked to clean her room. That, and the fact that I won’t get to give the ol’ swoony moon-eyes to my totally pounce-worthy German teacher that whole time. The guy is the World’s Most Fuckable Hobbit. Seriously, he makes me twitterpated hardcore. I want to put that man in my mouth like a toddler with a shiny object… er, um, sorry. I digress.

I have decided to try and keep my German skills from atrophying during the break by memorizing poetry. Poetry has always had a strange place in my world. As I have mentioned, my mother would read us poetry almost every evening, either before bed or after dinner. She would read us Tennyson, Longfellow, Keats, Yeats, Poe, Shelley, Byron, Rossetti, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. My sister and I would sit with rapt attention as she would give us dramatic and intense recitations of the English Romantics and High Victorian verse, many of which I can still recite today. This seeded my love and appreciation for language and formed my world view in innumerable ways, and it is one of the few truly fond memories I have of my mother from my childhood. Poetry helps associate strong emotion with the words you are learning, it gives you a sense of rhythm and timing, and is a great way to learn how a language is meant to be felt and experienced. I tend to be less entranced with modern poetry, for the most part I find a lot of it forced and cynical, lacking any real attempt to connect the reader with the passions and vulnerability of the writer.

I have 3 weeks. I intend on memorizing 3 poems. First up is “Erlkönig” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The other two I am considering are Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode an die Freude” (mostly because it is more or less the lyrics to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony- and who doesn’t want to be able to bust THAT out at parties. Well, I guess it depends on what kind parties you go to. I go to nerdy parties), and Friedrich Hölderlin’s “Mnemosyne“, because I like it. Both of those are rather long, so I may need to scale back my ambitions. We shall see as the break progresses…

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