Sproing

As a kid, I had a book of ‘B.C.’ comics. Alas, a quick Google does not find this particular strip, but BC is standing in snow, and a flower sprouts right beside him with a “sproing” sound effect. Flower has a little bit of snow on top of it.

BC: looks at flower

Flower: Sproing is here!

BC: *rolls eyes* You’ve still got snow on you.

Flower: There may be snow on the roof, baby…

I had to have this last joke explained to me.

Anyway, yeah, things are getting warmer and we’re getting out more. Didn’t stop the weather for our concert a couple of weekends ago being horrendous: windy, snow, the whole bit. The whole ‘we all hide in our houses, mostly’ thing we’ve had going on has let me forget the coping mechanisms for ‘the weather sucks, but you must go out in it and you must be wearing a very nice outfit that you can’t let get yucky’. So that was fun, but I pulled it off, including long johns under my otherwise fairly thin concert slacks.

Concert itself (modern piece, Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concerto, Symphony Fantastique) went very well – and, more importantly, very much in the upper range of how it could have gone. I don’t think we felt very secure – I certainly didn’t. We lucked out. All three pieces went swimmingly, actually. My big featured moment (one long held isolated low note) went just fine.

It was not clear until a couple of days ago whether I was playing the next concert, but I am, and we start rehearsals tomorrow. Another modern piece (written by a composer who identifies as non-binary), another Rachmaninoff piano concerto (#3) and Sibelius 2. All new to me. Should be fun!

I never want to practice, so I’m trying to structure my horn practicing around some goals – that is, working on the Bach cello suite movements the way I’d turned my attention to the 2-part inventions on piano. Warning: nerdy music detail ahead. The standard horn arrangements of the cello suites (by Wendell Hoss) keeps them in the same written key (which actually means they’re a 4th up from the cello keys), puts them in treble clef and makes suggested alterations for the original double stops/chords and so on. Years of training and musical scholarship have taught me that I can use these arrangements (basically very good) as a starting point and modify as makes sense to me. The 6th suite is the weird one. It’s weird anyway, because it was written (probably) for a different instrument than the standard cello, so it sits higher. And for some reason, Hoss decides to put this in Eb for Horn in E (a tough transposition) rather than putting it in D for Horn in F (no transposition). This really doesn’t make a lot of sense, and adds an unnecessary level of difficulty. (usually, when the horn is set in a transposing key, the written key ends up being C: having flats on top of the transposition is just insult to injury). When I’ve eyeballed the 6th suite in the past, I’ve tried various things to avoid it – just play it in the written key rather than transposing, or use Sibelius to generate an untransposed part… but I’ve decided now to just treat it as a hefty challenge and read it the way Hoss intended. It’s tough. And weird. And there are picked-off high notes, right off the bat, that don’t happen in the other suites. So… a challenge.


Gosh, this is the point of the blog post where I really want to go on and on about some medical stuff that each of us is experiencing, but honestly, better to keep it private. Let’s just say we’re basically OK and have some minor issues that are being worked on and we’ll see what will happen.


Media consumption – we’re wrapping up our pre-Oscar tour. ♫a pre-Oscar tour…. (heh) Movies we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks include The Tragedy of MacBeth, Flee, Licorice Pizza, and House of Gucci. Macbeth was admirable. Flee was lovely and very sad (we saw it in the English dub, which worked nicely). We both hated Licorice Pizza (although yes, the 1973 setting is spot-on in detail, and parts of it are fun), but liked House of Gucci. We’ll see Drive My Car next Saturday, that will be all the best picture nominees. I’m still rooting for CODA, Cumberbatch, Kotsur. The women I feel less strongly about – probably Colman and Buckley.

We finished Schmigadoon (a hoot) and are now on Pose, Season 3. The usual mix of terrific and awfully amateur (in some of the acting and writing), but mostly terrific. We finished Mrs. Maisal and will finish Gilded Age tonight – probably pick up the (short) last season of Shetland next which will take us to Bridgerton. We’ve heard good things about Inventing Anna, and haven’t even tried Reacher yet. For the comedy slot, we tried the pilot of Our Flag Means Death or whatever the name is, probably won’t keep going, although it wasn’t awful. Ted Lasso would be an obvious one to try next.

Oh, if I didn’t say this before, we also have been doing the latest season of The Good Doctor, but we’re caught up now and waiting for the last couple to be broadcast. Broadway star Rachel Bay Jones is fantastic in a featured role this season.

More as it develops…

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