words, sound, words

i haven't written here in a long time because i never really wanted to write much in here anyway. and to add to that, reading past entries always makes me cringe harder than anything else. i really should work on some things about myself. oh well.  before i delve into my pseudo-intellectual side, i will recap what has been occurring in my life.

- took greyhound bus for 8 hours last week, back and forth up north, overall not a terribly bad experience
- sort of started working out, but i think i'm doing it wrong because i hurt everywhere and don't know exactly if anything is working
- school is almost over but i feel nothing close to excitement or relief, just an empty void
- immense love for piano is still there, i know that now, but there are just so many things overpowering it, layering over it so heavily that i can hardly even scrape away and get a good experience to grow out of all my subdued passion
- time flies by really quickly because i am not really present in any given moment; i can recall moments of discomfort and impatience but these soon pass and are drowned out in time, meaning inevitably that i had slipped away to some other place not governed by our laws of time
- feeling disappointed in myself for neglecting schoolwork, especially in classes that i really really enjoy and wish i could get more out of
- increasingly unsure about future, constantly worrying about money, constantly worrying about a career, constantly doubting myself and my (lack of) abilities
- figuring out some (not so new) interests, such as culture, cooking, language, and how they all intertwine
- want to spend a lifetime in each country, starting with germany, austira, china, japan, vietnam, thailand, india, france, england, all of south america, mexico
- whenever i overhear spanish-speakers i am so incredibly jealous, and it's not really just spanish-speakers, but all speakers of foreign languages that are amazingly crafted and contain words/phrases/compound words/hidden meanings/sayings that are just pure works of art and flow so easily from their speakers' lips
- really interested in late 19th-century music and especially that from Austria and Eastern Europe
- really want to be able to appreciate things i'm learning at school that are hard to appreciate; equal divisions of the octave, atonal/12-tone rows, double-tonic complex, chord progressions that cannot be represented by roman numerals, the absence of functional tonality, etc etc

things i must look up and study and find out all about as soon as possible:


- Gustav Mahler, all Symphonies, his relationship with Strauss, his letters to his wife and other composers, just everything about him
- Richard Strauss, Salome, his relationship with Mahler, Second Viennese school, pushing the boundaries, etc
- Alban Berg, Wozzeck, what Shostakovich thought of it, production with the factory workers, it's fucking incredible and amazing
- Richard Wagner, just everything, Tristan und Isole, Parsifal, the Ring cycle, i want to gain a complete (is it even humanly possible?) understanding of his works, i want to see what the big deal is, i want it to encompass me, but how on earth do i even start, there's just so much all at once
- Carl Maria von Weber, Der Freischütz, so so beautiful
- Johannes Brahms double concerto (violin and cello), major thirds sequence
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 9, study with score, then move on to other symphonies, how can you even write a symphony after beethoven i just don't get it?
- Modest Mussorgsky, Boris Gudonov, historical significance? impact? irony?
- Frédéric Chopin, Ballade No. 4, this amazing fucking beautiful thing, i want to learn it
- Béla Bartók, Burlesque III. Capriccio, start working harder on it
- Arnold Schoenberg, Verklärte Nacht, piano suite, he deserves respect and appreciation but i cannot enjoy hearing his music, i know no note is random and his 12-tone rows hold the piece together, but it still does feel like randomness and strangeness for the sake of strangeness, "emancipating dissonance," Second Viennese School, students Berg and Webern
- RAVEL, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, the more i listen to him the more i play him the more i just can't, i just can't even comprehend or begin to describe how wonderful it is to me. his chords, his tonality and harmonies and the places they take me and the places they can, will, will not go.. the things he does with pure notes in the air, the things he sees and hears and instructs you to also hear and feel and do, obey, there is just nothing like it.

i want to sit down in a room somewhere with all of this music, all of the scores and all of the recordings, and maybe some writings to help me understand, and just absorb, study, and never leave. that is my dream. i hate hearing music without a score to guide me. i hate watching an orchestra play, i want to see the black on white manuscript and see the markings made by the minds of these geniuses among men. i seriously have so much fucking respect for composers, i want to dedicate my life studying them. how does one even write a symphony? how does one write Brahms' Second Piano Concerto No. 2, or any of Ravel's piano works, where does the inspiration come from? what pushes them to create such unimaginable beauty? i feel so sorry for anyone who does not get the chance to feel this way about music, to experience the greatest things ever created in this world. i know i am only touching the tip of the iceberg here, but i really feel like my calling is somewhere in this direction.

Books (to read)

- The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross
- Anything on Mahler, Strauss, Wagner, all that stuff
- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler
- Pincher Martin, William Golding
- The Monk, Matthew Gregory Lewis
- The Truth About Chernobyl, Grigori Medvedev
- The Case of Comrade Tulayev, Victor Serge
- Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier
- The Black Cloud, Sir Fred Hoyle
- The Kraken Wakes, John Wyndham

"Other" Music

- Lullabies to Violaine, Vol. 1 (Forever)
- Mata Otoshi-mashita-yo, 二階堂和美 (Nikaido Kazumi)
- Cease to Live, Luror
- Black Secret Technology, A Guy Called Gerald
- Dichterliebe, Op. 48, Robert Schumann
- Omodaka
- Orange Mighty Trio
- Shadow Music of Thailand

i've become recently entranced with this Youtube channel, called Tastemade. especially their "thirsty for..." videos, in which they artfully re-create traditional drinks from other cultures, from hot fruit punch to spicy hot chocolate to strange concoctions you'd never imagine existed, but all look incredibly delicious. i also love how culturally significant the ingredients they use are, and i just wish so badly i could have intimate connections with delicious foods like that... like seeing my mother grow them in the backyard, or feeling some sense of nostalgia when introduced to the scent of exotic fruits of the earth... it's these rare, exceedingly overlooked parts of the "human experience" i honestly feel like i am missing out on. for me it's not winning the lottery, not having sex with anyone i desire, not even the impossible hope of world peace... i just find food and cooking traditions from other cultures that were born out of necessity, poverty, reaping the land and respecting what it gives you so unbearably beautiful and worth treasuring, forever. i can seek some of those things now, as an outsider, and attempt to feel or understand or just barely grasp what it means to be a native, a native speaker, a primal being born in a country where nothing is sure; where there is no "american dream" but just what you see outside, what you have on your back, under your feet, in your heart, in your hands, but it just is not the same.

i would die to have been born in and live somewhere else all my life. still, one lifetime is not enough to grasp centuries of tradition. i want to learn every character of every Asian language, and know and appreciate what early symbols and signs they were to represent, and how those radicals came to be what is used today. i want to know and understand every German word, how several are often combined into one huge long word, and yet make perfect sense; i want to laugh at jokes people have saying for centuries, things passed down from ancient civilizations.

i must read, read read read - i want to be educated! like Robert Schumann... or Mikhail Bulgakov! i have to read the classics, ancient greek mythological works, and those important to philosophy, psychology, astronomy, whatever. Goethe, Kafka, Mann, all the great German writers and thinkers. Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, Dumas and Hugo, Wilde and Joyce and Ibsen... i want to read plays and novels and poems, i want to know who was inspired by them, what was created because of them, who or what inspired the authors and composers of everything, who took a piece of someone else's art and made something new, perhaps a whole new artistic movement out of it? there's just too much...


what else? right now i am in a place i usually am not. today has been a quiet one, as has this week. hence the periods of not really being here as i mentioned earlier. it's weird when you feel like you haven't spoken a word to someone in what seems like years. it's like, am i really here? why can't i think of anything to say? why do i want to be so far away from these seemingly nice people? why can't i be a part of this big happy scene, too? it is impossible for me to fit in this puzzle. i am not even a puzzle piece, i am a figment of someone's, something's imagination. but i still dream... often of very strange and unsettling things.

nothing has changed. i recently have been thinking, "oh, i'm such a different person now than i used to be! i'm almost 20, my teenage self is long gone. thank god." but it's not true! i'm no different... i might have a little less space in my brain due to some accumulated knowledge (the opposite could very well be true as well), my body might be built slightly differently, my hormones calmed down somewhat or something, but my mind is the same, and my perceptions of the world haven't really changed. i can only write when pushed to the edge. i can only think positively if lied to. i can only be some semblance of happy if i am completely distracted. i can have a dream, but it does not appear tangible, even in my mind where anything is possible it is just a cloudy figure. time is simply escaping from me. where is it all going? i will look at the clock and two or more hours have passed, and for some reason the minutes have remained the exact same... 3:22 turns into 6:22, it's always the same when i look again. is something controlling me? who does this?

i can't sleep at night because i am afraid. YES i saw a scary movie recently, an extremely extremely terrifying movie to someone who is scared easily, but still. it's been over a week and even in complete daylight i feel like there is a demon coming to possess me. in reality that doesn't sound as bad as the movies make it, i guess... but i wish i could stop having a feeling like something really scary looking is always watching me or creeping towards me. when i was younger i was obsessed with a book that had a scene of a young boy putting on magic glasses and seeing all the demons that really exist in the world around him; the room was packed full with demons of every shape and size and color. he (and i) had nightmares for the rest of our days.


here are some musical examples of the gorgeousity i have been submitting myself to as of late:

Richard Wagner - "Prelude" from Tristan und Isolde / (1857-1859)

Carl Maria von Weber - Act II, finale, "Wolf's Glen Scene" from Der Freischütz {The Magic Rifleman) / (1821)

Frédéric Chopin - Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 / (1842-43)

Modest Mussorgsky - "Coronation Scene" from Boris Godunov / (1868-1873)

Johannes Brahms - Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 for violin, cello and orchestra / (1887)

This incredible piece was the last work Brahms wrote for orchestra. It is beyond words. One of my favorite moments is at 10:33, when they both just climb alll the way to the top.

Arnold Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht (The Transfigured Night), Op. 4 / (1899)

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor, IV and V / (1901-1902)


Maurice Ravel - "Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn" / (1909)

This piece was dedicated to Haydn marking the 100th anniversary of his death in 1909. Along with other French composers such as Debussy, the notes B-A-D-D-G were to represent H-A-Y-D-N, and the minuet begins with this motif.

Alban Berg - Orchestral Interlude and Scene 4, Act III, from Wozzeck / (1914-1922)

This is the absolutely gorgeous interlude from the final of three acts in the opera. The act is made up of 6 Inventions (go Wiki them, they are a cool concept), and this one is an "invention on a key" (D minor).

Here is the fourth scene in the third act, "invention on a rhythm" (the rhythm representing his obsession and paranoia). The lead character, Wozzeck, has murdered his wife (Marie) after finding out about her affair. He is just now realizing what he has done, and is attempting to hide his sins from the world. But, as he soon realizes, he cannot escape them that easily, and ends up drowning in the pool. I cannot get over how incredibly gorgeous this opera is, go watch the rest of it! It's on youtube...

"Is all the world going to proclaim my guilt?"

The Son of P.M. - "Plaeng Yiepoun", from Shadow Music of Thailand / (1960)

"Shadow Music" was a term used for the 60s Thai guitar pop psych/folk/garage-inspired movement that used traditional Thai melodies with a spin of some modern Western rock-and-roll traditions.

Cocteau Twins - "It's All But an Ark Lark" from Lullabies EP / (1982)

Definitely one of my favorite, if not all-time favorite track from Cocteau Twins. I first found it on the Violaine compilation. It's one of their longer songs, and as such it reflects a more focused song structure. The atmosphere is a lush, dissonant haze reminiscent of early 80s post-punk. I don't even know what else to say, there are no words for why I love it, exactly, I just know I can't stop listening to it at maximum volume.

Orange Mighty Trio - "Long Zoom" / (2009)

This piece by a modern maverick chamber group is inspired by transportation. Something you don't see every day! Very talented musicians and songwriters.

revolution is flight

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