Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Weekly Roundup 22: String is in the Air

String music, that is. 

I heard my first ever performance by a string octet, comprised of the Dali and Pandan string quartets, brought together by the amazing Off the Hook Arts. The venue (a local car dealership) was a little unusual, but the acoustics were good--and there was a Porsche in the room.

The piece was written by composer Felix Mendelssohn in 1825, when he was 16 (which is like middle age for a child prodigy I suppose). It is written for four violins, two violas, and two cellos. What stuck with me--aside from the spectacular music--was the anecdote about how the acclaimed third, or scherzo, movement was inspired by four lines from Goethe's Faust
Trails of cloud and mist
        Brighten from above;
Breeze in the trees, and wind in the reeds,
        – And all is scattered.

From those four short lines of verse, the teenaged Mendelssohn imagined and composed a piece of music which is still being performed and enjoyed almost 200 years later. 

It just makes me so happy to think about how words inspire music as much as music inspires words. I hope Goethe got to hear the Octet before his death in 1832. 

See you next week!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Weekly Roundup 21: June is for Joy

2024 has felt hectic, with some fun stuff but also some stressful stuff. On more than one occasion, I told myself that come June, things would slow down and get easier. And now that June is here, I'm trying to make it happen. 

One thing I want to focus on this month is finding something to be joyful about every day. In 2020, I blogged about my Joy Project based on Ingrid Fetell Lee's book Joyful. But a lot has happened since 2020, am I right? So I need a little bit of a joy refresher. A joy bump. A jolt of joy. Something like that.

June is a wonderful month for joy, mostly because the outdoors is so wonderful. Not to cold, not too hot, lots of things are blooming, and the grasshoppers haven't yet eaten everything down to the stem. Now that school is out for the summer, I see neighborhood kids heading to and from the pool. Baby ducks swim in the canal, people get married. 

So far, I have been joyful about seeing a hummingbird at my flowers, the baby evergreen trees that unexpectedly germinated in my backyard, the Netflix show Girls5Eva, tiny toad tadpoles, and watching my husband rescue two garter snakes from the neighbor's pond.

All month long, I'll be keeping my eye out for joyful things, and I'm also going to revisit the book to see where else I can jumpstart joy in June. 

Have a joyful week! See you next Wednesday!