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More music, or, what I did on my long weekend - The Lyorn's Den

Thu Feb. 3rd, 2011

02:03 pm - More music, or, what I did on my long weekend

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Two days off

Because I had to balance my overtime, I had taken Thursday and Friday of last week off, which did wonders for my mood and for my sanity. Thursday I had planned to go to the doctor because of my arm hurting most of the time, but I did not manage to get out of bed before noon. So I went straight into town instead with a long list of things to do, most of them good. It being cold and I being lazy, I took the bus.

As this was the last weekend of January, there was a Candle mass market in the city, where they sell household goods. I took the opportunity to replace some broken items. Next on the list was, hit the bookshops, because I had got the honourable and unpopular job to find a goodbye-present for a co-worker. For several reasons I am not entirely happy with the "main" bookshop in town, so I took the opportunity to visit some of the others. I found what I was looking for in a small, out of the way "literary" bookshop, which was nice and comfy and had a lot of interesting books, and a very helpful owner who did not sneer at my situation. ("I need to buy an expensive present for someone I don't know well and who has interests I'm clueless about" -- this is somewhat embarrassing.). Then I went on to the next bookshop I had never been in before, and found that despite of their cheap-looking front, the interior of the shop was very pleasant. I bought a gift certificate for the rest of the sum, and a nice (if maybe too glittery) card. It is hard buying stuff for someone who has a better taste than oneself!

Speaking of taste, the shopping mall had "chocolate week". The central ground floor corridor was full of stands offering and making chocolate. I got a lot of free samples, bought a few small pieces of interesting-looking creations, had one small bar of nut chocolate made to order, and finally had breakfast: A chocolate mocha and a brownie, and a chocolate orange ice cream to chase it down with.

After breakfast, I felt up to clothes shopping, or more specifically, to continue my quest for a black spandex-free jeans. I tried on about 12 pairs in 4 different shops, and learned a) that I can now wear W28/L34, b) that there are no spandex-free jeans in that size, and c) that black does not seem to be fashionable at the moment. For completeness' sake I also tried a Levis CurveID demi-curve, which confirmed that I should try a slight curve, if I feel like buying a jeans-like garment made with artificial fibre. Sigh. At least, probably because I was not looking for it, I got a simple black turtleneck long sleeve. Also, I found a lot of things on sale which had not been available all winter. Stupid shops.

I went by the doctor's office when I was on my way home, but the place was crowded, and they all had the common cold, so I decided that my arm could hurt for another month or two and fled before a virus caught me.

Friday promised to be busy. I attempted to go to bed early and failed, so when my alarm rang at 9, I had had only 5 hours sleep.

I went to the bank to arrange for some stuff, bought fresh bread rolls and Krapfen. Ceridwen came over for breakfast at 10. We munched through enough food to last us until dinner (which was the idea). Then she went to pack her things for the weekend, and I went to the gym where I had an appointment with a trainer to get a new training plan. My attempt to do less machines was as unsuccessful as my search for a black no-spandex-jeans. I feel that I really should make my own program, but I have this childhood trauma of being yelled at by gym teachers. For curiosity's sake, I also had body composition measured again, to the result that I should not lose any more weight (I knew that, but it does the strangest things to my head to be told that.) According to the measuring device, I gained a little bit of muscle mass despite losing three kilos since last measuring, so that was fine.

After that, I tried to get the car washed, but by then the sun had come out and everyone had the same idea. I had no time to join a queue, so I went home, packed my bag, loaded the car, picked up my passengers, and we set out for the big traffic jam that surrounds the city on Friday evenings.

More music

Once we had got out of the traffic jam, it was good going, and we arrived at the Musikakademie Alteglofsheim shortly after dark.

It was another insanely baroque place, the palace of the envoy of a Prince-elector, who had to impress people with his taste, fashion sense and general pomp, and could obviously afford to. The baroque palace was set at the back of a medieval keep (going back to Carolingian times, but mostly built in the 12th century), and had some wings added later, so the floor plan was quite interesting and everyone got lost all the time. We had a guided tour of the castle on Saturday and got told, "Most visitors explore this place very thoroughly over the course of a weekend -- usually when looking for the exit."

The rooms were in another building, that one of unknown age (I'm guessing, old bones, everything else completely modernized.) There were en-suite bathrooms and showers with lots of hot water, which I've come to really appreciate.

We started practise after dinner in a room with dark brown floorboards, yellow walls and a turquoise high ceiling. The envoy had it built especially for his billiard table. To get there, you had to cross a room with (reproductions of) silk tapestries of mythological scenes, and a ceiling full of allegorical images in paint and in stucco one foot deep, and another one with green silk on the walls and less stucco.

By then, exhaustion had set in, and I dragged myself through practise, freezing, uncomfortable, and in desperate need of tea. The quest for tea later in the evening was complicated not only by the layout of the place, but also by the fact that hot water cost 30 cents and the machine did not return the change. I must have made quite a before/after picture with my tea mug. We hung out in the chapel hall for wine, beer (or, in my case, tea), sweets, talking, and the singing of rounds until well after midnight.

I slept well, although the cold woke me a few times until I dug an additional blanket from the cupboard.

Next day went very fine. A nice breakfast, three hours of practise, an OK lunch, a guided tour through the palace, cake, three hours of practise, dinner, and twosomething hours of practise. For warm-up, we used some of the CVT techniques, which got us down to D3, and up to B5 with little effort. We learned a joik which is very good fun to sing, like Sami yodelling, a Norwegian wedding march with an ad lib melody voice that Ceridwen and I did, and we continued to work on the Maybebop-version of Rammstein's "Engel" (and if you think this is weird, you are correct. It is also amazing.) The first soprano was happy because it's rare that you get to sing a loud and joyful (the joik) or loud and nasty ("Engel") G5 again and again, and I was happy because no one expected anything lower than a B3 of the second soprano, the songs were fun, and we made very good progress.

After lunch we got the castle tour and saw a lot more baroque high kitsch. It's strange, I get the meaning, the historical context, the mythological quotes and allusions, but I do not get a way of looking at it where it is not kitschy enough to shrivel your socks. We all had a good laugh when the guide pointed to a picture of Apollo in "heroic nakedness" as the patron of the envoy's house, and then said who was/is the current "patron" of the Musikakademie. Let's say, none of us wants to see the Bavarian minister of the interior naked, heroic or less so. I guess you just have to look at the paintings from an ironic perspective these days. There also was an eastern-facing breakfast room with interior decoration done by a pair of Italian first-class designers -- you saw that there was a very high degree of skill and cleverness here, which actually left the realm of kitsch here and there and became art (but don't ask me to define the line between those!). The most amazing thing about that room was that it had not been restored (though, one assumes, dusted). According to the guide, it was never destroyed or even damaged in the 250 years of its existence. And that despite the ceilings coming down in the rest of the palace in the 1970s. It was nice to learn that the envoy had been a patron and lover of the arts, so he might have been quite pleased with what the place has become today.

After the final practise of the day, we met again in the chapel hall and I fell upon the chocolate as if it was going out of fashion. Music is hard work and makes me crave sweets as few other activities will.

Sunday morning was freezing, with the sky in beautiful icy shades of purple and indigo as the sun rose. Breakfast, three more hours of practise, lunch, the usual confusion and chaos at check-out, and that was it. To make use of the brilliant weather, bright blue sky over snowy fields, my passengers and I took a little afternoon walk to a 1200 year old knobbly oak tree, which looked as if it might have opened its eyes and said "hoo-hoooom" in a very dark voice any moment.

The drive back was as uneventful as one could wish it to be. We ate the rest of the chocolates, had coffee at a rest stop, and were home shortly after dark.

I found that Tully had not abandoned his search for the perfect form (i.e. spherical): Some friends had met for an RPG session in my place on Friday and forgot to lock the food cupboard when they left, so Tully had dragged out the bag of cat food and, as Snow, my trusty cat-herder, told me, eaten enough to make himself sick and uninterested in food for all of Saturday evening. Jerry looked at me reproachfully when I dished out half-rations on Sunday, so I guess he didn't get much of the loot.

And Monday it was back to work (*very big sigh*). I am tired, especially of winter. Especially of a winter with so much cold and so little blue sky.

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