Saturday, August 16, 2008


The rain continues

With the rains continuing this week, we have finally abandoned all hope of having any sort of summer this year. But as a special form of sunshine, B showed up for a week with our 5 1/2 year-old granddaughter. We hadn't seen them since last summer and probably weren't going to be able to travel out to see them at all this year. It sure was fun watching her carry around our immense cat...
As they helped Z celebrate his 16th birthday yesterday (while we celebrated our 37th anniversary), it was somewhat poignant to see in her a reflection of Z a mere 10 years ago [that really isn't a lot of time, believe me.] They share an outgoing, curious, playful, and generally happy demeanor - always eager to learn and eager to be part of everything.

For his birthday, Z got "Guitar Hero" for his XBox, and a cell-phone. It made sense to buy a family plan that would include Y's old phone, so I decided to get my own phone as well. So now we're the proud owners of two new Razr phones. I'll be busy the next several days figuring out all the features and settings, one of which is the BlueTooth compatibility with my car. My first attempt at Guitar Hero brought a chorus of 'boos' from the on-screen audience, until Ann (or maybe it was Nancy) Wilson stopped the show and shook her head at my avatar in disgust.

Thursday's cello lesson (#55) was really good. It had been four weeks since my previous lesson (hmmm, sounds a little bit like confession...), but even though I'd missed a few days' practice this last week, I'd been working diligently on my assignments. So we started out doing some of the Mooney "Position Pieces", and I was pleased to be able play through a couple of them with little trouble... somewhat less successfully, though on the "Double Stops" piece I played next. Then we turned to the Breval "Sonata". We spent quite a bit of time talking about the string-crossings, and going over the proper arm motions and bow movements... whew, I've still got a long way to go there. But the rest of the first 50 measures are coming along quite well. I began work today on the next 25± measures.

At the end of my lesson when her next student arrived, I stayed over for a few minutes so we could try out an interesting trio, "Canon á la Mode, for three cellos" by Tom Flaherty, that Ellen Gunst had recommended to our cello trio. This was really fun. It takes the Twinkle theme and twists it all around, backwards, forwards, and inverted. Each cello takes turns on the melody; then at times they all merge together briefly before diverging on separate paths again. It's a great exercise for a group like ours. I'm not sure it's the type of thing a general audience would appreciate, although other music students - especially Suzuki students - ought to appreciate it.

Congrats on all of the festivities. One of my students gave me this Apocalyptica version of In the Hall of the Mountain King for 4 cellos, if you want me to scan it for a, intense, sightreading session with your teacher. :)
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