Wednesday Music: Debussy’s ‘Suite Bergamasque’

I realized recently that I don’t think I’ve ever posted about a piece by French composer Claude Debussy. I don’t think I’ve played his work and I’m pretty sure he’s best known for his piano pieces (and I don’t play the piano). Nevertheless, his omission from Wednesday Music is a mistake that must be rectified. Therefore, today’s piece is Debussy’s Suite bergamasque. Here’s a bit about it.

  • The suite has four movements and even if you think you haven’t heard of it, you actually may have. The third movement is called “Clair de lune,” which is one of Debussy’s most famous pieces. I actually thought it was a single piece by itself—I didn’t realize it was part of a suite.
  • Debussy composed the suite around 1890, but revised it heavily before it was published in 1905. His revisions included changing the names of two of the movements. The fourth movement, “Passapied,” was originally called “Pavane.” The third movement, “Clair de lune,” was originally called “Promenade sentimentale.”
  • Musically, the style of “Clair de lune” (I actually wanted to make the post just about “Clair de lune” but then I discovered there are other movements, too) is French impressionism. I was unaware the was an impressionist movement in music too. I’ve only heard about it in the context of painting.

Enjoy!

Or click here to see on YouTube.

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A Labor Day Weekend in Bullet Points

  • I don’t feel like writing a traditional, proper posts with paragraphs because I’m tired, so I thought I’d use bullet points instead. I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’ve been tired all day.
  • I didn’t really do anything for Labor Day Weekend and it was kind of glorious. I mainly lounged around and read. In fact, I binge-read a Michael Crichton book (Sphere) because I basically could not put it down. I also needed to vacuum but I didn’t get around to that, but it’s no big loss. 😉
  • The weather here has been gorgeous for the past several days. Very low humidity, which is amazing. I’m always surprised at how much humidity can ruin an otherwise nice day.
  • I went on a trip to Arizona recently (last weekend, including Monday and Tuesday as well, making it a long weekend). I was so tired that I slept for eleven hours on Friday night. I will post pictures at some point—I haven’t even gone through all the ones I took on my phone! But rest assured I plan to create a photo gallery.
  • I haven’t been writing fiction very much lately, so I’m going to go work on a novel after I type this post. I also have an idea for a historical fiction detective story that I’m eager to brainstorm and write. I always brainstorm with a pen and paper—because I’m old-fashioned like that—and it can be really relaxing to just sit and handwrite.

Wednesday Music: Mussorgsky’s ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’

Wednesday Music is back, everyone! Since the poll I conducted last week was overwhelmingly in favor of it—well, it’s here to stay, at least for a while.

This week’s piece is Modest Mussorgsky’s “The Great Gate of Kiev.” Here’s a bit about it.

  • This piece is actually part of a larger work Mussorgsky wrote for piano called Pictures at an Exhibition. It is made up of ten movements and five promenades, for a total of fifteen parts.
  • The original name of this piece in Russian isn’t actually “The Great Gate of Kiev.” It’s usually translated into other languages that way—for example, in French, it’s called La grande porte de Kiev. The Russian title is Богатырские ворота (В стольном городе во Киеве). That more closely means “The bogatyrs’ gate in the capital city in Kiev.” A bit wordy, for sure!
  • Even though this piece was written for piano, the video I have embedded below is an arrangement for orchestra. I usually try to go with whatever the composer intended when I choose the videos—as in, if it was written for piano, I’ll find the piano version—but I really wanted to share an arrangement this time because I played this piece in youth orchestra years ago. I’ve actually never listened to the piano version.

Enjoy!

Click here to listen on YouTube.

The Dark Ages

You guys, the unthinkable has happened: my microwave broke. It’s a GE, so that’s no surprise. A part in the door cracked and the door rattled when I closed it. Then I opened it and closed it and the entire door broke. The glass front part of the door slipped down and the door won’t shut.

The good news is my apartment complex is going to replace it for free. The bad news is they don’t have any in storage, so they’ll have to order one and that’ll take several days to come in.

Sigh. I’m stuck back in the dark ages now, everyone. I have to use my stove or the oven to heat up things. The horror! 😉

The Eclipse! An Update.

Okay, people, I’ve just got to say that the eclipse was a big fat disappointment, at least in my town! It barely even got dark! Actually, it didn’t get dark at all. The sun was noticeably dimmer, so I guess I had my experience of what it would be like to live on a different planet further away from the sun (which is pretty cool, since living on different planets is a common theme in science fiction). But as I said, it wasn’t even dark!

I did get a cool picture of the shadows of leaves as the eclipse was taking place.

Click to see larger

Apparently that crescent shape only happens during an eclipse. I didn’t even realize it at the time—I just thought it looked cool.

And no, I did not look up at the sun. A lot of my coworkers had those eclipse glasses, but, like I said before, I just didn’t trust them. (The glasses, I mean, not my coworkers.) The only way I would look directly at an eclipse is if I had access to a telescope in an astronomy department of a university. I’d trust that to be properly shielded.

Meanwhile, my best friend went to a town that was in the path of the total eclipse. This is what she saw.

Click to see larger

Now that I think about it, it was still a pretty cool experience. Practically everyone working in the part of town where my office is turned out to see it and that was neat.

The Future of Wednesday Music

I haven’t done Wednesday Music in a while. For those who are new here, Wednesday Music is a once-a-week post about a classical music piece. I started the series back in 2015 and have been working on it semi-steadily ever since. Or rather, until earlier this year. To be honest, I haven’t been blogging that much recently, which is another issue altogether. Anyway, I used to write the Wednesday Music posts (almost) every Wednesday, but then I kind of just… stopped.

Rather then feel bad for not posting, I thought I’d ask the readers. Do you think Wednesday Music should continue? Vote in the poll below to tell me your thoughts.

If you answer is no, I’d love to know why. Is once a week too frequent? Should the Wednesday Music become Monthly Music instead? Let me know your thoughts!

Update, August 26: I have closed the poll. By overwhelming consensus, Wednesday Music is here to stay! Thank you to everyone who voted and/or commented.

The Eclipse!

A sunset on Mars… or is that Earth during an eclipse?! (Just kidding, it is Mars. Source.)

I know that everyone, everywhere in America is talking about the solar eclipse tomorrow, but I’m getting pretty excited about it, so I figured I’d add to the fray.

I’ve never seen a solar eclipse and originally I thought that if you weren’t located directly in the its path, you wouldn’t see much. Well, that’s wrong, based on what I read. In fact, Business Insider has this cool map to show the darkness in different areas as compared to other planets in the solar system. If that sounds confusing, just click on the link, as the article explains it. I do wish I were in the path that would have darkness equivalent to Neptune because I wrote a novel that takes place partly on Neptune. (It’s science fiction.) And that would be pretty cool to experience how light it is on Neptune.

I also found a different map on the NASA website that says I’ll be in the path of 90% totality, which I assume means it’ll be pretty dark where I live. I’m pretty sure everyone in the US will see something due to the eclipse. The degree of how much you’ll see depends on how far you are from the path.

I’m working tomorrow, but I’m planning on going outside to see what it looks like out there. And no, I do not plan on looking up at the sun. I don’t have special eclipse glasses and I think I’d be too scared to look anyway!

How about you, readers? Are you doing anything fun for the eclipse?