24 April 2007

Eternal Rest

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Elisa Bowen Raboy, and for comfort for her husband Asher. Lisa was my voice teacher, my first voice teacher. She took me on when I was nine and taught me until I graduated from high school. She was more than just a teacher--she was a friend and mentor, almost like a favorite aunt that I saw for 45 minutes a week. She dispensed advice on numerous topics and told me not to sing show tunes like a nun, unless they were from "Sound of Music." She helped me grow up, and imparted a good portion of the love of music that has carried me through to my present career. She died last week of cancer at the age of 54. I didn't know she had been ill because I'd lost touch with her when I went away to college, so this came as a bit of a shock to me.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. She may not have believed in You, but she tried to do good as far as she knew it.

21 April 2007

Monteverdi, Schubert, etc.

I'm working on two term papers at the moment, due next week. (Yes, I'm chewing my fingernails.) One is about sacred contrafacta of Monteverdi's madrigals. For those who don't speak musicologist, the term "contrafactum" (pl. "contrafacta") refers to a new text being substituted for the original text of a vocal work. Thus sacred contrafacta of Monteverdi's madrigals refers to madrigals which were originally secular and have had sacred texts put to them. Apparently not many people study these, preferring to study the madrigals with their original texts. It is somewhat interesting to me, though.

The other paper is about the Schubert controversy. For those of you who weren't reading the journal 19th Century Music or the Arts Section of the New York Times in the early 1990's, the controversy is over whether or not Franz Schubert was homosexual. A lot of evidence has been presented on both sides. The fellow who initiated the discussion put forth some arguments that aren't totally convincing to me, especially in view of the arguments later presented against him, and the folks who have defended him all rely to some extent on his original arguments. Unfortunately, the first person to protest that Schubert was straight (as the myth had always said--though there are composers, like Tchaikovsky, whose homosexuality no one has ever denied) obviously had an agenda--she clearly believes that suggesting Schubert was homosexual sullies his reputation as a composer. Having an agenda doesn't necessarily make her wrong, but it puts her arguments in a bad light. The most convincing article that I've read is an article that our professor obtained for us from the author which has not been published--the author withdrew it, and I'm not sure why, which of course makes me doubtful about the author's conclusions. It's hard to know who to believe.

Honestly, it's not as if we'll ever know for sure whether Schubert liked men or women or both or neither. He isn't around to tell us, and he didn't leave much of a diary. I'm also not sure whether it's worth getting worked up over--yes, it may tell us something about why he was interested in choosing certain texts (like a poem by Goethe about Ganymede) to set, but other composers who were not homosexual set some of the same kinds of texts. So, does it matter? It really only matters to me if we could prove he had a relationship with a specific person who may have influenced his artistic choices. Otherwise, I will pray for his immortal soul and not really care whether he was homosexual or not...once I've finished writing this paper.

17 April 2007

Linguistic Amusements

I am taking a class in Viennese Musical Culture in the Classical Period. The professor always begins and ends his emails to us in German. This week's salutation was "Servus!" Being a Latin-lover and not a German-speaker myself, I was at first extremely puzzled. Then I found an online German dictionary and realized he was just saying "hello."

16 April 2007

Meme time

Swiped from Shortcut to Mushrooms (which is an awesome blog title). I'll only do part of it.


Aprons: Y/N?
I used to wear my apron almost every time I cooked, because I went home for all my meals and cooked almost everything. But now three days a week I'm on campus for lunch and dinner, and when I'm home I'm wearing scrubby clothes. So, only an apron if I'm dressed up.

Baking: Favorite thing to bake?
Jane's special fruit bread, a recipe of my own invention that changes every time. It's basically whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed, honey, yogurt, eggs, and whatever fruit I have lying around (dried apricots, dried or frozen blueberries, applesauce, overripe bananas, and raisins have all been used).

Clothesline: Y/N?
If I had room for one I would.

Donuts: Have you ever made them?

Every Day: One homemaking thing you do every day?
Um...I don't think there is anything that I do every single day.

Handbook: What is your favorite homemaking resource?
My mother. Seriously. I have been known to call just to ask questions like, "How do I get this crud out of the bottom of my pot?" and "How long do those beans really need to soak?"

Ironing: Love it or hate it?
I hate ironing fitted blouses. Trousers and men's shirts I don't mind.

Junk Drawer: Y/N? Where is it?
I am fairly organized in that respect. I do have a drawer in my kitchen for miscellaneous items but it doesn't look like the junk drawer at my parents' house.

Kitchen design and decorating?
Again--apartment. My apartment has its original 1949 metal cabinets which look cool, but the doors are hard to open and close and some of the shelves are bent. Everything is white, black, and silver.

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Baking, definitely. Other cooking can be fun too, especially on the weekends when I really have time for it.

Mop: Y/N?
Yes, unfortunately. The tile in the bathrooms needs it, and the parquet floor needs a wet go-over once in a while (the dust here is unbelievable).

Quiet: What do you do when you get a quiet moment?
I live alone except for a cat, and even when I'm at school I spend half my time in the library, so most of my time is a quiet moment. I read a lot, and sometimes it isn't my schoolwork.

Recipe card box: Y/N?
I have a section in the bookmarks on my computer called "recipes"--does that count?

Tablecloths and cloth napkins: Y/N?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I alternate between tablecloths and cloth placemats on my table, and cloth napkins generally only come out when I have company.

Zzz's: What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Making sure any dinner leftovers get put away in the fridge.

14 April 2007

Please say a prayer for a friend of mine--she was supposed to be married in June of this year, but the wedding has been called off. I don't know why the engagement was broken, but she must be very disappointed.

08 April 2007

Easter Homily

There was a really awesome line in the homily that I heard this morning that I'd like to share with you:

"Did any of you watch 'The Tomb of Jesus' a few weeks back? Those folks didn't get the angel's message: they're still looking for the living among the dead."
Christus resurrexit!

Happy Easter, everyone! Rejoice, especially, those of you who will be singing the proper chants. My choir does get to sing the Byrd Haec Dies and a very joyful piece by Sch├╝tz, but it just does not seem like Easter to me without Resurrexi. I could have used another week of Lent.