I'm going to take the plunge and audition for piano lessons at UIUC. The requirements are:

  1. All major and harmonic minor scales in four octaves.
  2. At least one composition by J.S. Bach (e.g., Two- or Three-part Inventions, Preludes and Fugues, etc.).
  3. At least one movement from a sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven.
  4. At least one composition from a composer of the Romantic period or 20th century.
  5. Harmonization of a familiar melody to be selected by the audition committee.
  6. Sight reading.
  • Scales are to be played from memory. Candidates for the major in piano performance or piano pedagogy are required to play all audition repertoire from memory. All other piano candidates are required to play one composition by memory.
I thought maybe if I publicly declared that I was going to audition for lessons, I'd be more dedicated to preparing. I'm designing my audition programme right now. This is what I have so far.
  1. I haven't practiced my scales yet but I've done these scales before, and at least there's no speed requirement, and I don't even have to do the melodic minor!
  2. I do have a Prelude by Bach, but the accompanying Fugue is in bad shape. They're from the "Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2", Prelude and Fugue No. 20 in A minor.
  3. There was the sonata that I really love by Beethoven, Sonata No. 27 Op. 90 E minor, movement 1. There are several difficult parts though, because you're required to play ranges larger than octaves very quickly. It will require much dedication. There's another option though, I just ran across this other Beethoven Sonata that I blogged about in a previous post. It doesn't seem so difficult, and is quite pretty. Maybe not as impressive though?
  4. The Romantic period is my favourite. I have the Raindrop Prelude by Chopin (Prelude No. 15 in D-flat) that won't take me hard to bring back up. I also have Gymnopedia No 1 by Erik Satie, one of my all time favourite pieces to play.
  5. I'm possibly a little worried about this harmonization...but won't worry about it right now.
  6. Sight reading...also worried about this. I'll have to work on it too.
So you can see I have my work cut out for me, especially since I'll be working on a paper this summer and will be getting back into shape for modern dance class in the fall. Any suggestions?
I heard a Beethoven Sonata yesterday that I really liked and wanted to learn: Sonata No. 8 "Pathetique". Since this piece is in public domain, I decided to return to a wonderful site a found a few years ago, IMSLP. It's run by a student and has sheet music that's in public domain. To my dismay, the site was taken down last October!! The more I read about why it was taken down, and this poor student's dilemma, the more disappointed/distressed/dismayed I became.

Luckily, I found another site, Mutopia. I just want to learn to play a piece that I found a connection to...what's so wrong about getting some sheet music freely online? This "culture of ownership" [see Molly Wood's blog] really needs to end.
This is a quick post on things I've ordered in the past week that I liked.

  1. Asian Salad at Zas
  2. Fettuccine with Creamy Pesto Sauce, Chicken, Meatballs, and Sun-dried Tomatoes at Zas
  3. Yerba Mate Latte at Espresso Royale
  4. Chocolate Chip Scone at Espresso Royale
  5. Chicken Pesto Sandwich at Atlanta Bread Company
Yes, I've recently realised that everything Pesto is good. Yum. Wish I had more time to go into the details of why I liked each dish, but I have so many projects!

Edit: I fixed my spelling error that Andrea pointed out!
I'm going to start a new thing where I post old stuff I wrote. For instance, the other day I remembered this poem I wrote in 2004. It's actually an updated version of a poem I wrote in 2000-01, which was a part of three poems. I'll find that and post it another day.

The Thunderstorm War

Some little insignificant cracklets –

Sounds slowly steadily intensified.

Those tiny insignificant droplets

Led to downpours for they have magnified.

My dear friends is this not a thunderstorm,

Coming from a spring or summer shower?

Perhaps a cold-blooded war, now the norm,

That commenced with a spat so miniature?

While man invents the most explosive bomb,

Continues to concisely destroy Earth,

Those tiny cracklets have now become

Harder to remove than they were to birth.

The Crystal Ball of Nature is in spurn –

If only humans would see it and learn.

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I can't believe it. You know, if I wanted to be woken up at 4:40 am in the morning by the building shaking (I live on the third floor), I would have sucked up the debts and gone to Stanford. I'm in the midwest. We're supposed to have tornadoes. But who gets the tornado? Atlanta! The day before I go there!!! And then another minor one hours before I go there!!! And then I get woken up at 4:40 AM IN THE MORNING BY A 5.4 EARTHQUAKE CENTERED 145 MILES SOUTH OF ME?! What is wrong with this world?

And while I'm complaining about the weather, let's talk about this winter. Because I was celebrating yesterday. We finally got to 70F yesterday. Then this morning I find out that it was the first time in 178 days, 35 days longer than the 143 day average. It was one of the snowiest and cloudiest winters on record. So, not only do I fly into tornadoes in downtown Atlanta, get woken up in the middle of the night by 5.4 earthquakes in the midwest, I choose one of the worst winters to move to Illinois. Great. Just splendid.

Edit: There have been FIFTEEN aftershocks since Friday!! Also it was actually a 5.2 earthquake...
Sometimes you just need to take a minute and listen to the lyrics of a simple song. I always loved "Águas de Março", or "Waters of March", as mentioned in the previous post, but I just realised how absolutely beautiful it is. The pictures were taken by my friend Anna while we stayed in Saint Augustine, but photoshopped (a little bit) by me. Hopefully the song will stop haunting me enough for me to get some work done...

The song is one of many composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. According to the Wikipedia entry, March is a rainy month in Brazil, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of the cold season. It's almost painful to read these lyrics, as you get this strong sense of life just passing by and spiraling towards death...

The version I usually listen to features both Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina singing together, but a Youtube video of an original rendition by Elis Regina with Jobim just playing the piano can be found.

Edit: I just realised that the version I know with both Jobim and Regina can also be found on Youtube!

"É pau, é pedra,

é o fim do caminho

É um resto de toco,

é um pouco sozinho

É um caco de vidro,

é a vida, é o sol

É a noite, é a morte,

é o laço, é o anzol

É peroba do campo,

é o nó da madeira

Caingá candeia,

é o matita-pereira

É madeira de vento,

tombo da ribanceira

É o mistério profundo,

é o queira ou não queira

É o vento ventando,

é o fim da ladeira

É a viga, é o vão,

festa da cumeeira

É a chuva chovendo,

é conversa ribeira

Das águas de março,

é o fim da canseira

É o pé, é o chão,

é a marcha estradeira

Passarinho na mão,

pedra de atiradeira

É uma ave no céu,

é uma ave no chão

É um regato, é uma fonte,

é um pedaço de pão

É o fundo do poço,

é o fim do caminho

No rosto o desgosto,

é um pouco sozinho

É um estrepe, é um prego,

é uma ponta, é um ponto

É um pingo pingando,

é uma conta, é um conto

É um peixe, é um gesto,

é uma prata brilhando

É a luz da manhã,

é o tijolo chegando

É a lenha, é o dia,

é o fim da picada

É a garrafa de cana,

o estilhaço na estrada

É o projeto da casa,

é o corpo na cama

É o carro enguiçado,

é a lama, é a lama

É um passo, é uma ponte,

é um sapo, é uma rã

É um resto de mato,

na luz da manhã

São as águas de março

fechando o verão

É a promessa de vida

no teu coração

É uma cobra, é um pau,

é João, é José

É um espinho na mão,

é um corte no pé

São as águas de março

fechando o verão

É a promessa de vida

no teu coração

É pau, é pedra,

é o fim do caminho

É um resto de toco,

é um pouco sozinho

É um passo, é uma ponte,

é um sapo, é uma rã

É um belo horizonte,

é uma febre terçã

São as águas de março

fechando o verão

É a promessa de vida

no teu coração"
It's stick, it's stone

It's the end of the road

It's a rest of stump

It's a little alone

It's a shard of glass

It is life, it's the sun

It is night, it is death

It's the snare, it's the fishhook

It's peroba of the field

It's the knot in the wood

Lamp caingá tree

It's the matita-pereira tree

It's wind-resistant wood

Falls of the ravine

It's the profound mystery

It's the you wish or you don't

It's the wind blowing

It's the end of the slope

It's the beam, it's the span

The new roof party

It's the rain raining

It's riverbank talk

Of the waters of March

It's the end of the struggle

It's the foot, it's the ground

It's the walk on the road

Small bird in the hand

A slingshot stone

It's a bird in the sky

It's a bird on the ground

It's a creek, it's a fountain

It's a piece of bread

It's the bottom of the well

It's the end of the way

In the face the annoyance

It's a little lonely

It's a thorn, it's a nail

It's a point, it's a dot

It's a drop dripping

It's an tally, it's a tale

It's a fish, it's a gesture

It's silver shining

It's the morning's light

It's the brick arriving

It's the firewood, it's the day

It's the end of the trail

It's the bottle of liquor

Splinter in the road

It's the house's design

It's the body in bed

It's the broken down car

It's the mud, it's the mud

It's a footstep, it's a bridge

It's a toad, it's a frog

It's a rest of brush

In the morning's light

They are the waters of March

Closing the summer

It's the promise of life

In your heart

It's a snake, it's a stick

It's John, it's Joseph

It's a thorn in the hand

It's the cut on the foot

They are the waters of March

Closing the summer

It's the promise of life

In your heart

It's stick, it's stone

It's the end of the road

It's a rest of stump

It's a little alone

It's a footstep, a bridge

It's a toad, it's a frog

It's a beautiful horizon

It's a tertian fever

They are the waters of March

Closing the summer

It's the promise of life

In your heart
Every now and then I'd like to make a music post...Mostly because I have a horrible memory. You know how you have some songs that you absolutely love but never remember the name? I have a tonne of jazz and classical songs that fit under that umbrella. This is why I love pandora. Take "Take The 'A' Train" for instance. Wonderful rendition by Duke Ellington on "Jazz Profile: Duke Ellington", a 1969 live recording. It's one of those songs that I just always love to listen to.

Another song that's becoming like that is "Auld Lang Syne" by Salsa Celtica. Who'd think that Celtic and Latin music would have such a natural marriage? I discovered them from the credits for "Driving Lessons", a hilarious movie by the way.

Songs that I listened to today that are just plain awesome:
  1. "Take The 'A' Train" by Duke Ellington
  2. "Auld Lang Syne" by Salsa Celtica
  3. "Diablo Rojo" by Rodrigo y Gabriela
  4. "Aguas de Marco" by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina
  5. "Cores" by Da Lata