Wednesday Music: Gounod’s ‘Fantasy on the Russian National Hymn’

This post may be a little late, but you know what they say: better late than never. Plus, it is still Wednesday where I reside, even though it’s already Thursday for my European and Australian and Asian readers. (I don’t think I have any readers in Africa, but if I do, I know it’s Thursday there, too.) Anyway, I haven’t done a Wednesday Music post in a really long time, so I am so excited to post today because I have found the most fabulous piece of music. It’s called Fantaisie sur l’Hymne National Russe (Fantasy on the Russian National Hymn) by Charles Gounod and it is simply glorious.

I wrote earlier this week about my love for the tsarist national anthem and if you like that anthem, you’ll probably like this piece. Gounod basically built the entire thing on the melody of the national anthem. If you listen to a recording of the anthem, then this piece, you can clearly hear the melody right from the start. Here’s a bit about it.

  • Gounod wrote this fantasy in 1885. No one is certain how or why he chose the national anthem of the Russian Empire as his theme, but I’m certainly glad he did. Maybe he was a Russophile and we just don’t know that…
  • The piece premiered on November 16, 1885. Lucie Palicot, to whom it was dedicated, played it, accompanied by Gounod himself on the piano.
  • The orchestral version premiered in February 1886. The brass instruments and the piano have the theme most of the time.

Seriously, everyone, this is almost as great as Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March.

Enjoy!

Or click here to see on YouTube.

Putin the Patriot

Since I can’t embed the video, here’s a picture of Putin from his English Wikipedia page.

My mom sent me this video over the weekend. It’s an unedited (which I assume means unaired?) clip from Megyn Kelly’s recent interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin. For some reason, the embed code will not work properly, so unfortunately you’re going to have to click through to the link above to see it. The video does have subtitles, so don’t worry if you don’t speak Russian. You’ll still be able to know what Putin says. (Though no doubt Putin himself would say that you ought to have started learning Russian yesterday, comrade!)

Leaving aside whether the interview was good or bad, whether Kelly’s questions were good or bad, and whether she should have conducted the interview in the first place, I want to focus on Putin’s answer to her question. I was really impressed at the depth of feeling in it. That, my dear readers, is what a true patriot looks like. That is a man who loves his country.

This isn’t meant to be a pro-Putin post. Unlike many people in the West, I don’t mind admitting that I like some of the things Putin has done over the years and sometimes agree with him. Other times, of course, I don’t see eye to eye with him, to put it lightly. But I cannot help but respect his patriotism evident in that interview. I find it quite… inspiring.

Russian Political Party Sponsors Bill To Revive Tsarist National Anthem

I read this amazing bit of news a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to blog about it ever since: Law introduced in the State Duma to replace Russian National Anthem with “God Save the Tsar.” The link is in Russian.

Basically, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) has introduced a bill in the Russian parliament (Duma) to replace the current national anthem with the tsarist-era anthem, “God Save the Tsar.” (Zhirinovsky famously declared war on a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet years ago, so he’s no stranger to very random pronouncements.) Now, I do like the current anthem, I really do. I think it’s quite beautiful. But I like the tsarist anthem even more, so as you can imagine, I was delighted to hear this news.

I doubt the bill will pass, to be honest. I don’t think there’s popular support for it. I don’t think United Russia, the most powerful party in the Duma, supports it, and support from United Russia would be crucial for it to pass. Nor would I want it to pass in the form it was introduced: apparently, according to other sources I read, the bill also proposes changing the calendar back to the Julian version, which would be very confusing since the entire world uses the Gregorian calendar right now. As such, I do think reverting to the Julian calendar would be rather stupid.

But I digress. With all this talk of the two different anthems, you’re probably wondering what they sound like. Wonder no further, dear readers. I have embedded below videos of each so you can listen.

First, the current anthem—here is a direct link to YouTube, in case the embedded version isn’t working. It has the lyrics in both Russian and English.

And here is the tsarist era anthem. Again, here’s a direct link in case the embedded version doesn’t work. I managed to find a version that had the lyrics in English, which was not easy. There are better musical versions out there, but I wanted to have the lyrics in English for all of you to read.

Russian flags by the Kremlin. Source

Really, I do think they are both nice anthems. But I’d love to see a change back to the tsarist version. It’s all part of the plan, you see. First, the tsarist anthem. Then the tsarist flag—oh wait, that’s already happened. The current flag in use in Russia was also used during the late period of the Russian Empire (though there were other flags in use in earlier years). The next, and final step is to restore the monarchy to Russia. I rather like that idea—as long as Putin is not the tsar… 😉

May 2017 Writing Report

This is going to be a short post because the less that is said about the May writing report, the better.

In May, I wrote a total of 5,068 words, which is an average of 163 words per day. That’s a rather dismal figure, I’m afraid. I spent most of May studying for my exam, which I passed, so it was definitely worth it. But still, I wish I’d had more time for writing.

The good news is that as of right now, I’ve written more this month than I did the entire month of May. Surely that’s a good thing, right?

The Exam Result Is In!

Remember in my last post when I talked about how studying for the final part of a certification exam took over my life? Well, I took the aforementioned exam on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, to be exact. I’d wished I’d been able to get an earlier time, but I got there early and they let me start early, so that worked out well.

Anyway, I received my result right away. This isn’t like some exams where you have to wait for weeks at a time before finding out if you passed or not. And yes, I do have good news: I passed! That means I passed all the exams on the first try and after I file some paperwork, I will finally have my certification!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have passed. Not only was I sick of studying, but I really thought I was going to fail when I was actually taking the exam. There were some really tricky questions that I struggled with. I did a lot of preparation, but there were still concepts I hadn’t seen before.

Anyway, I did some actual fiction writing tonight, and now I’m writing this blog post. I do plan to resume blogging again, so get ready for that. I have some pretty good posts in the works, if I don’t say so myself. 🙂

Trapped In Test Land

I haven’t written fiction in almost three weeks.

My apartment desperately needs a good cleaning, but that’s not going to happen right now.

I haven’t played violin in months.

I haven’t worked on my knitting since the beginning of the month.

And I haven’t blogged in forever. I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I wrote a Wednesday Music post.

Yes, my friends, it has happened. I thought I’d be done with studying after I finished school, but that’s not the case. I decided a few weeks ago to sit down and start studying for the last exam I need for my professional certification. I’m tired of the whole thing hanging over my head, so I’ve been studying nonstop. Obviously I still have to work, too, so there hasn’t been much time for doing things other than studying, I’m afraid.

There is an end in sight because my test date is coming up. Either I’ll pass or I won’t. If I don’t, I’ll be terribly demoralized and have to study more so I can retake it, but I’m really hoping I’ll pass. Then I can get back to writing, both fiction and nonfiction on this blog.

Until then, the posting here is likely to be sporadic, but I hope to start posting regularly again soon!

April 2017 Writing Report

Obligatory writing instrument.

In the interest of not having a writing report almost an entire month after the month in question has ended (I have no idea if that sentence makes sense, but it happened with the February writing report this year), I wanted to post the April writing report this evening. You know the routine, dear readers. Here we go…

In April, I wrote a total of 17,296 words. That’s an average of 576 words per day. Not my goal of 700 per day, but better than last month’s daily average. I only missed ten days of writing, which isn’t too bad. The bad thing is a lot of those were Fridays and Saturdays, which in theory should be the days when I have more time to write.

The thing is, I’ve been a bit exhausted this March and April. (You’ll recall I had a dismal writing month in March.) The problem is a certain project at work. It’s kind of dreadful. It would be dreadful in the best of circumstances, but the circumstances are nowhere close to being the best right now. There aren’t enough people working on said project and the manager isn’t doing a very good job of managing it. As you can probably guess, these circumstances are a recipe for disaster. It also doesn’t help that I have a professional certification exam I really need to study for but haven’t been studying for due to the dreadful project (and yes, writing takes away from my study time too, but a person’s got to have some way to de-stress outside of work, don’t you think?!).

Anyway, fingers crossed that things get better soon… Overall, I am pleased with my writing progress in April. Here’s to a successful month in May!