Blog Archives

A classic poem takes a new (musical) flight


A dear friend of mine, who shall remain in anonymity, once showed me e.e. cummings’ i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart). As clichéd as it sounds, I loved it. In the course of this past semester, I enrolled in a composition class. In this class put my big boy pants, and I set this poem to music. It was an uphill battle (choosing the singers, rehearsal time) in short, a battle. I won the battle and the war! Here is the finished product, while not perfect, it is pretty darn close. I hope this a start of a new, complementary chapter in my life.

If you want to commission me for a choral piece, do not hesitate in doing so! Without further ado, i carry your heart with me (i carry it my heart).

Text:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Singers:

Sopranos:

Alison Huntley
Lydia Lewis
Mariah Chapdelaine
Elizabeth Peregrine

Altos:

Carolee Stark
Abiagil Landau
Jessica Moore
Jazmine Hamilton

Tenors:

Tyler Hast
Thomas Heise
Arturo Martinez
Eric Mohlis

Basses:

Johnnie Campbell
Ethan Q. Ivey
Jordan DePatis
Jack Dessent

José Clavell, conductor

Advertisements

4 weeks down and 14 to go


And so the third week of class is coming to and end. It’s been… hectic to say the least. This semester I have a composition, music history (fin-de-siècle in the 19th century and the 20th century), choral conducting, graduate theory and analysis, and ensembles. For this semester I have the following projects (for now):

 

Choral Conducting:

-Songs of Nature by Robert Young
-Brahms’ Song of Fate
-From Light to Light by Aaron McDermind

Graduate Theory and Analysis

For now I’ve been analysing Chopin Preludes and Bach chorales from left to right, it will be fun to see what other stuff I get to do

Music History (fin-de-siècle in the 19th century and the 20th century)

-Duka’s Ariane et barbe-bleue (Opera analysis). I know… I have to continue with my French obsession.
-Debussy’s Trois Chansons de Bilitis
(among a million readings)

Ensembles:

-Music, music and more music!!

Composition:

-Text by e.e cummings. Poem: “i carry your heart with me”. Voicing: 8-10 part mixed chorus.

Also, fun facts:

  • The university is doing a Choral Conducting Competition! I am going to participate. This reminds me of the anime Nodame Cantabile (a 20-something conductor who goes out of his hometown in Japan to pursue his dreams in Europe). Let’s see how this goes!
  • I already have 1/3 of my composition done, and I have the skeleton for the rest of it!
  • It has been -25 degrees (or at least feels like it) for two days… maybe three. I thought I liked the cold, but this is ridiculous!

This semester is going to be a hectic one, but I know I can tough it out. On a bright side, I do have a lot of ideas for future posts. I only ask for you to be a bit patient for I don’t have much time to post as before!

 

 

 

 

On the twelfth week of Grad School, my baton said to me…


On the twelfth week of Grad School, my baton said to me: ‘member all that’s happened to thee…

  1. I am stronger than I look, wiser than I know, and a hell lot a braver than most people I know.
  2. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race, sometimes it just means your dead.
  3. Show the ictus, my child, then they will rejoice in the Lamb…
  4. No matter how awesome you thing the idea for a section in your paper is, chances are you WILL NOT know how to put it into words, hence the frustration cycle begins.
  5. can work under pressure *dum dum dum duru dum dum*
  6. The number of scores/things you have to do for a specific week will be equivalent to the motivation you have in NOT doing it. This is multiplied by 9 for when you get your weekly breakdown.
  7. If I think I don’t have an Independent study class, maybe it will go away.
  8. And now I started to sing Meldelhson’s Octet
  9. with a rhapsody of Lully’s Laudate Domino
  10. You really know you love X musical period. In my case, Romantic music. Because let us SHOW YOU HOW MANY FEELINGS WE HAVE WITH THIS CHORD AND THESE DYNAMICS!
  11. You may have nightmares of losing your assistantship because of reasons…
  12. Realizing that you do want to be a Doctor in Music is epic.
  13. Bonding with fellow graduate students is cool.
  14. Sometimes having alone time is needed.
  15. Sometimes saying “NOPE. Not doing anything today!” is necessary. Be prepared for having a little meltdown the following day because you procrastinated. Notice how the graduate student comes back to his natural habitat, made out of choral scores, scholarly articles, and Doctor Who references. This scholarly igloo made out of responsibilities, will keep the graduate student (who’s not form the United States) warm from the upcoming winter.
  16. Practice, young Padawan, Practice.
  17. Christmas Carols are hard to memorize, but huge pieces of Masterpieces can be memorize in a one, a two, a three, let’s go!
  18. Everything is a song cue.
  19. Even though I may not notice it, I am getting better.
  20. Stop being a perfectionist. (Easier said than done).
  21. To every family member, when your son/brother/sister/sibling says he/she want to go to Graduate School, give them a crockpot.
  22. Crockpots are good for pianists.
  23. No matter how much you try… the Ole will never vanish. It is called HERITAGE. Sorry.
  24. Having a tour, a paper due, and a presentation on the same day will make you crazy, but… it will make a Man out of you. *cue Mulan music*
  25. Yes. This post may not be very coherent. Sorry. This graduate student hasn’t slept in a while.
  26. You will start to lose count on how many coffee cups or caffeinated beverages you drink in a day.
  27. There is power in numbers. For example, let’s count how many scores you have to give a graduate student so that he/she can cower in fear (and be more nerdy than before).
  28. When your first undergrad mentor is recognized by your hometown, it is totally acceptable for you to Skype with a fellow friend, and for her to basically go everywhere so that you can talk to everyone. Including your three mentors from undergrad, more than 15 choristers, more than 5 teachers, and so much more.
  29. Going to Chicago for Thanksgiving, makes this guy very excited.
  30. Hoping that when this degree is over, I will have made life-long friends and colleagues.
  31. Knowing that when I finish this degree, I’ll be even better and stronger that I was gives me hope for my career.

The Silent Sniper: Sleep is a Solstice


Warning: This post may not be 100% coherent. Why? Not much sleep, coffee depravation (one cup of coffee does not suffice), and because Daleks/Cybermen/The Master want to exterminate my Research assignments by throwing it into a fire pit.

This week in  “Chronicles of Graduate School Living”, we can view ze graduate student recognizing that sleep is fleeting or while sleeping he wakes up at 2 am scared he missed a deadline. This week has been…. long. I’ve felt that everyday is a new Tuesday (for some reason I hate Tuesday’s more than Mondays. Weird. I know). Maybe it’s because I did not have as a productive last weekend as I thought I would have. Also, I noticed that the books, articles, and scores I have to read, read and write, and analyze, respectively are adding up. Every time I finish one, two more appears. So, it’s like Pokemon (nerd alert). It’s when you are running through the grass and just when you’re about to get out 100 Weedles appear or if in you’re a cave 1000 Zubats come and attack you with confuse ray (wow. I reached a new low… I shake my head at myself). But, in the midst of this there has to be something good, right? Right.

Some of the good news are that I’m finally “recovering myself as a conductor” which means…? I’m finally loosing up in my conducting course. Which is amazing and awesome. Why? Because… it’s good. Another thing that’s good is that some of my fellow professors have asked me about my research topic (which you can read a slight intro here). The good thing is that I’ve researched a bit more in the subject, and I get more excited about it. The bad thing? The actual information I need to further my investigation is still in Washington, DC. This irks me, scares me, and… downright terrifies me, because if I don’t get Dr. Klemme (aka the only HUMAN in  the United States of America who has done something with Henk Badings, the dutch composer I’m researching) I have to do everything from scratch, and… I really don’t want to do that. I have enough score analyses to do (and so little time).  Another epic, amazing, and awesome thing that may happen in my life (next semester) is that I can enroll in a graduate composition course. Notice the adjectives that evoke the happiness that is resurging from my heart. I am extremely excited because I’ve always wanted to take some composition courses and I now I can! *insert happy dance* *insert solemn dance* *insert breakdown, because that’s next semester and I still need to do so many things until that happens (hurrah! Run-on Sentences!)*

A good thing that I liked about this week (I still have tomorrow, but I hope it continues in the same vibe that I’ve had, so far, today) is that I had the opportunity to conduct University Singers. I conducted Lauridsen’s Ave Maria, which is a beautiful piece and I love it. It was pretty cool because we had students from Illinois District IV, and they saw me conduct (yay me).  Now I have to recollect my belongings which are thrown all over this table, and prepare myself for choir rehearsal. After this I’ll throw myself into the neverending paperwork (and drown dramatically while practicing my conducting, baton and all).

Trying to study at WIU's Library

Trying to study at WIU’s Library

 

 

 

The week in Heaven (and just a slice of hell).


The time has come. I have started my graduate studies in Choral Conducting, and to quote that famous phrase all I can say is “I’m not in Kansas (Puerto Rico) anymore.” How can I describe this? One word. Wow. It is completely different from what I’m accustomed, but that was the necessary change, right? The answer, of course is a big, bad, YES!

Now. There is a lot of work, but I’m surprised that the Faculty is very supportive, appreciative, and really wants to see you succed. From my experience back home, most of the Doctors’ perspective is: “I know more than you, you are beneath me. I have all my three degrees so, basically I don’t care.” It’s very refreshing in seeing that here is the exact opposite. Which leads me to the other (unspoken) fact. If they see you slacking, I am sure you will get a kick to your patootie (yes, I really used that word) and they will take no prisoners. Which is good, because as a Doctor told us at the Graduate Orientation:

Receiving a Higher Education (Masters or Doctorate degree) is not a right, it is a privilege. We, the faculty, are very possessive and protective of our field. We don’t want anybody in receiving the same title that we have, we want you to show us how much you wanted and how determined you want to be as good or better than we are.

Which is really true. If you were a professor, wouldn’t you want to make sure that the people you send out to the field are competent and can do their job? To send professionals out on the field, and maybe one day could possibly take your job? The answer or the answer should be yes.  In how I’ve been finding my place here, well that’s  another story. Day to day living is exactly what I’ve always wanted, peace and quiet, no reggueton (the devil’s music). Musically? It’s day and night. I prided myself that over in Puerto Rico, at least vocally, I was very good. I always learned my music in a fast efficient manner. In just this week alone I’ve felt that some of the undergrad students are ten times better than I actually am right now and their piano skills (a weakness I know and admit I have) are twenty times as better as I have. And I’m sure that my fellow graduate peers are even better in that area as I am. It sort of feels like heaven (and a little slice of hell).

Heaven, because I feel as in this is what I wanted as an undergraduate experience. What I want to see in Puerto Rico, where students have a great musical education and when they go to college you don’t have to go to a rehearsal and play notes all day. Students actually go home, study their music and come to the classroom to sing. But that puts me in a (very big disadvantage) because I have to work ten time as hard in everything, because I feel like I’m not “as in musical shape” as they are, holistically. I can express that my culture shock has been more artistically than it is, well in the other sense. Compared to the other international students, Puerto Rico has always had the presence of the United States over our shoulders. That’s why I feel as if it is moving over here is a natural (and necessary) progression I need to grow in every sense in my life.  After this first week, I all can say is that I really have my work cut out for me and that I need to hit the turbo to actually do what I want, what I love, but give that excellence I want from myself (which is more than other people want) and what my professor will expect from me. So just like in “The Wizard of Oz” “I’m not in Kansas anymore.” and just for that fact only I have to give 200% of me so that I can excel!

Layers of sound & harmony


What happens when you start losing your faith? What happens when your hope is fleeting? Sure. Some good things happen. But in comparison to the “bad” the “good”? Let’s just say that it looks pretty insignificant.  Then you find this piece. For me it’s not about the lyrics. Ok. It’s not just about the lyrics. The layers of sound. The harmonies. The constant movement between the voices. The intent. The motif. The way the melody fugues from voice to voice. Section to section. The way the Soprano hits one or two high notes… the notes the bass sing which are low, but they give a richness & depth towards the piece? 

The intention of the words? What the words truely want to evoke, the music conveys. The only “flaw” this audio has is the “t” is too marcatto. Other than that? This piece is perfect. You are immersed in layers upon layers of sound & harmony.

Text:

Nada Te Turbe
by Santa Teresa de Ávila
Music by:Jake Runestad

Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la paciencia
todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene
nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.

[Let nothing disturb you;
let nothing frighten you;
everything passes;
God never changes,
patience
obtains all things.
Whoever has God,
lacks nothing.

 

A wall of sound.


When you listen to classical music, whether it be instrumental (orchestra, band) or vocal (Opera, Choir, Zarzuela), what do you see? What do you feel? Different composers evoke different emotions, it’s natural, but ultimately what composers what to do is transcend. What transcends in you? Can you feel what the composer wants you to feel or experience? Share your experiences here.

Everything’s a learning experience


Everything's a learning experience

Even though I couldn’t go to the audition, I learned how to cram this masterpiece in less than a week. Preparation is key. Pressure is what differentiates a coal from a diamond!


Coral Municipal de Ponce


La Coral Municipal de Ponce cantando en el Quinto Festival Internacional: Descubre a Puerto Rico y su Música Coral. Dirigidos por el Prof: Rubén Colón Tarrats.

Canciones:
Summertime – Arreglo Coral: Mons. Abel Di Marco
Solista: Profa. Juanita Vázquez

Ponce – Version Coral: Prof. Rubén Colón Tarrats

SpanishPlans.org

Facilitating language acquisition through comprehensible input

Español Time

The Spanish Teacher's Helper

Language Class Engaged

a Spanish teacher blog

Brody Middle School Spanish

An International Baccalaureate School

%d bloggers like this: