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?!?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.