Friday, October 21, 2016

End of an era

It's been a bad year for cats, and by extension for this particular Crazy Cat Lady.  In July 2016 I lost two kinetic furballs, the inimitable Frey Kittehson and the erudite and chatty RJ-45, less than a week apart.

This past Tuesday night I said goodbye to the last member of Freyja's Dark Legion, Caramon "TumTum" Handsomecat.  Caramon, the first of Freyja's five kittens, was born on My couch on June 22, 2002 and grew up to be a striper of legendary size, weighing in only a few months ago at 17 pounds -- after shedding a few pounds somewhere along the way.  Despite being twice the size of a normal tabby, nearly a metre long from tip to tail, he was a shy sweetheart with a tiny, polite. mew and a penchant for flattening catmint bushes by lying on them and rolling around.

This is the first time since 1994 that I've had no cats at all in the house.  I keep expecting someone to come rushing up when I open a door, or to jump on the dining room table and sample whatever I'm eating, or walk all over My face at three in the morning.  In time the cat-oriented behaviours and reflexes will fade, but the memories aren't going anywhere any time soon.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Holst it right there!

Or, "Chaconne à son goût."

Like a very politely ticking clock-bomb, the metronome on My desk is keeping 3/4 time at a comfortable 110 bpm to the quarter note.

Unfortunately, I'm using it as a reference for eighth-note beats.

While working on a string of 16th notes five razzafracking bars long.  In other words, in 3/4 time I have to figure out how to squeeze 60 notes into a single breath.

I cheated.  I sneaked a quick breath between notes 30 and 31.

We're currently working on First Suite in E♭ Major by Gustav Holst, arguably one of the most famous pieces in concert band repertoire -- a mixture of breathtaking beauty, egregious silliness and outright insanity.  I'm currently working on the first two sections of the Chaconne, which, as near as I can figure, means "You woodwind guys go on ahead and the rest of us will catch up with you later."

I really think the "Brillante" indication  for section B should be crossed out and replaced with  "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate," but if Dante and Virgil could get through hell, so can I.  Back to work.