Wednesday Music: Mozart’s String Quintet No. 2 in C Minor

Well, they’re predicting freezing rain and ice tomorrow, so the jury’s still out on whether I’ll actually be showing up to work tomorrow. I don’t drive in ice, so we’ll have to see what happens.

Today’s piece is another by Mozart—what a surprise! ;) It’s his String Quintet No. 2 in C minor, K. 406/516b. Here’s a bit about it.

  • The piece is in four movements: Allegro, Andante, Menuetto in canone, and Allegro.
  • Like all of Mozart’s string quintets, this one is scored for two violins, two violas, and one cello. Note that Luigi Boccherini, a contemporary of Mozart, usually (if not always) scored his string quintets for two violins, one viola, and two cellos.
  • This is perhaps my favorite fact about this piece: it’s actually an arrangement/transcription of a piece Mozart wrote about five years before this string quintet, Serenade No. 12 for winds in C minor, K. 388/383a. I actually discovered the string quintet through Serenade No. 12, which is also a wonderful piece. Before I knew Mozart had arranged Serenade No. 12 for strings, I considered doing it myself. Great minds think alike, right?!?

Or click here to see on YouTube

Bonus piece: if you want to hear Serenade No. 12, the work that inspired this quintet, click here to listen to it.

Watch A Documentary Series About The Romanovs, In English

I’m mainly posting this for my own benefit because I want to remember to tell my coworker about this series, as I think she’ll enjoy it (and hopefully writing a post about it will help to not forget). Anyway, Paul Gilbert, who writes the fabulous Royal Russia blog, has a page with YouTube videos of a Russian-produced series on the Romanovs. The videos are in Russian with English subtitles.

I have not watched any of the videos yet, but I have yet to be led wrong by the Royal Russia blog… so I’m assuming they’re decent.

Read My Guest Post At Language Surfer

I'm on the homepage of his website!
I’m on the homepage of his website!

My friend Ron at Language Surfer invited me to write a guest post for his blog about Russian proverbs. He loved it, and hopefully you will love it, too! So go check it out if you want to learn some weird and wacky Russian sayings to impress your friends with. :)

(And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did take the photo that accompanies the post!)

Boris Nemtsov Feared Putin Would Order Him Killed

Nemtsov at a march in Moscow in 2013. Source
Nemtsov at a march in Moscow in 2013. Source

Prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered late on Friday evening, right by the Kremlin. (Morbid and interesting fact: I’ve been to the very place where he was killed.) A little over two weeks before his death, he gave an interview in which he said he feared that Putin would kill him. The link is in Russian and the translation is mine.

She [Nemtsov’s mother] is completely against what is happening in Ukraine and considers it a catastrophe and complete nightmare. But Putin worries her more than Ukraine. Every time I call her, she says: “When are you going to stop criticizing Putin? He’s going to kill you!” And this is completely serious.

Unfortunately, her fears came true. Nemtsov is dead, shot four times in the back.

Вечная память.

Original text: Она категорически против того, что происходит на Украине, считает, что это катастрофа и полный кошмар. Но больше Украины ее волнует Путин. Всякий раз, как я ей звоню, она причитает: «Когда ты прекратишь ругать Путина? Он тебя убьет!» И это на полном серьезе.

Excellent News!

Dear readers, I received most excellent news today. Remember when I took the Foreign Service Officer Test earlier this month? Well, I received my results today. And…. drumroll please…


Seriously, this is huge news. I had honestly not expected to pass. I didn’t study as much as I could have and I know I missed some questions. Nevertheless, I pulled off a 165.29, which puts me well above the 154 needed to advance to the next step. If you’re interested, go read this post if you want to know more about the steps involved in this process.

I’m scared of the next step because it trips so many people up. It consists of short answer questions that will (hopefully) highlight one’s suitability for the foreign service. The answers are due in three weeks, so I’ve already started writing. It’s intimidating that even if I pass this step, I’m still not done… but I’m just going to focus on writing good answers for now.


The snow came about twenty-four hours late. I just looked outside and there’s a nice dusting on the grass and on my car. Let’s hope they cancel work for us tomorrow…

Wednesday Music: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D-Major

I have bad news and good news, everyone. First, the bad news: remember how I submitted Wednesday Music to a blogging events directory? Well, it’s been a few days and it still hasn’t been posted. I’m not sure if they’re just really slow or if it wasn’t accepted.

The good news is today’s piece: Beethoven’s one and only violin concerto. It’s one of my favorite pieces of all time to listen to and I have started working on it in my violin practice. Here’s a bit about it:

  • This fabulous concerto was written in 1806 but actually wasn’t played very much until the mid-1800s. It’s terrible it went so long without being well-known, but at least people did discover it eventually.
  • The first movement has a long orchestral introduction. In fact, this music blogger says it’s one of the longest in classical repertoire.
  • This concerto has also been arranged for piano, which is wrong on so many levels. To me, it will always be a piece meant to be played on the violin.

Here’s a video of one of my favorite performances with soloist Arthur Grumiaux. It was recorded in the 1960s.

Or click here to see on YouTube

Enjoy and be sure to nominate any pieces you want to see in future weeks!