Category: music

8 years ago!

I was listening to some mp3 files on my phone recently and this popped up. I can’t believe 8 years has passed since I did this!

Dvorak Sonatina IV

It is well with my soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford


I saw Classical Star on BBC2 and was pleasantly surprised with its execution. Instead of the in your face approach of shows like the X-Factor, this show was a little more down to earth. It started off with a handful of teenage musicians who were evidently talented, but also had worked hard to master their instruments.

The first major challenge was for the musicians was a trip to a shopping mall to busk. There was no glamour, no glitz, but the musicians selected their own repertoire, given a few tips and then left to it. This was an exercise in engaging an audience. I must admit to being slightly surprised at the outcome, with the more talented musicians not necessarily being the more talented entertainers. Just goes to show, performance is more than musical talent.

The second, and final, major task of the week was to perform before their peers. This wasn’t well-groomed, public school teenagers, but everyday common or garden teenagers. Again, the musicians chose their own repertoire, and again, I was slightly surprised at the outcome. Bearing in mind the audience, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the more complex, both emotionally and technically, pieces which provoked the most reaction from the audience. Those musicians who had shied away from presenting ‘heavy’ classical, instead going for light classics, were respected and got a polite applause. Those who had gone for harder pieces had their efforts rewarded, with some of the audience visibly moved by the performances. (To the point of tears in some cases). Who says teenagers can’t be interested in classical music?

Finally when it came to elimination, unlike other contemporary shows, this wasn’t some form of public humiliation being passed off as entertainment. It was all fairly private, polite and low-key. I’ll try and keep a reminder in my diary to keep watching. 🙂

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air

There was a distinctly American flavour to this evening’s concert at The Royal School of Military Music, Kneller Hall. With a number of jazz and swing pieces, and a few pieces of comprising American folk and popular music, all thrown in the mix with the usual classical and marching numbers. Despite the rather damp week, the rain held off for the evening, and we were entertained by some of the military’s finest musicians. As always, the evening ended with a bang, with fireworks and a fine evening was had by all.

Scales of B and C major, three octaves

It seems odd that, one of the first scales you ever learn on the piano, C major, is one of the last ones you learn on the violin. After attempting three octaves of it,  I can see why though. I must admit to being constantly amazed how close the fingers can be to the bridge and yet still produce a discernable note! Definitely a case where not having frets has its advantages. Strangely, B major is easier on the violin than C! I think sharp keys are easier in general than flat keys.

Dancing with Brahms

Started learning Brahms’ Hungarian Dance no. 1 yesterday evening. Currently playing it a lot slower than it should be. If I ever get the hang of this one, it’ll be cool! I’m slowly acquiring some party pieces! 🙂

An octave in one bow

Well, after a short hiatus due to various issues, I was back to learning the violin. Surprisingly, I hadn’t forgotten much, and moved onto attempting to play an octave scale in one bow. This wasn’t too difficult with just one octave. It got harder as it moved into two octaves, and by the time I got to three octaves, my fingers were tripping over themselves as they attempted to shift multiple times within one bow movement. Needless to say, some practice might be required. The rest of the lesson was distictly baroque themed, with some further development on a Corelli piece and then looking at some simplified arrangements of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau.

Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd,
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i’m golwg sydd hardd;
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.

Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.