Loss

And so I’ve finally misplaced a piece of jewelry. Kathryn Schulz had a good piece in the NYer last week on loss –

Such losses sadden us because they presage larger ones — of autonomy, of intellectual capacity, ultimately of life itself.

I wore a necklace into the shower without thinking, removed it, wrapped it in a piece of kleenex, managed to remember to move the kleenex containing the necklace from the bathroom to my dresser… whereupon it lay forgotten until it morphed from “kleenex wrapped necklace” to “used kleenex” and made its merry way to the bin. T-T I’ve always wondered how people lose their rings gardening etc. and it seems that I have now reached that age.

We attended another chamber music concert (Bolcom’s Serenata Notturna + Schubert’s Octet) and it was fab. The violist switched out inbetween pieces and I totally didn’t notice – just whispered to LZ “hey, she changed her skirt.” (The first violist wore a burgundy velvet skirt and the second one wore a black one) He whispered back to me “the whole person has changed. By extension it is also true that the skirt has changed.” That just goes to show how unobservant I am wrt appearance. On our anniversary dinner at Six Seven I managed to wear my sweater inside out until halfway through the meal when he pointed it out and I bothered to change it (I wouldn’t have done so as an undergrad). There were like TWO tags sticking out :P In my defence it was one of those knits with the same pattern on the outside an on the inside. He calls all sweaters with that diamond pattern my “combinatorics shirts” because our undergrad combinatorics text had a similar diamond pattern on the cover.

The 1st violinist in the ensemble is the current assistant concert mistress of the Seattle Symphony. Both principal and deputy concertmaster seats are empty, and they are hiring. She broke like THREE horse hairs throughout the course of the evening! How hard is she pressing that bow?? The cellist was really cute. I think I just really like cellists. If you presented me a cellist on any Coffee Meets Bagel/Tinder platform I would immediately swipe right. He was this asian guy with a pompadour (tt LZ didn’t like) and I didn’t think he was cute at first but then he would break out in the most adorable grin in the middle of playing because he was really enjoying it (or missed a note?); he was grinning to the second violinist and it was so cute. I wonder if they have a thing going on. He was also really good, not as good as the Rimsky-Korsakov cellist but really on point, had mature expressions, and really shone in his solos. I liked the Octet a lot more than the Serenata, and would post a youtube link here only it was so much better in person than listening on youtube. Also I had an inaccurate memory of performing a Schubert trio in JC with a very pretty, ethereal nachtmusik mvmt (which was why I decided to go for this concert) but it turns out it was Schumann’s Fantaisiestucke Op. 88


(the fourth mvt is really pretty)

The last time I performed seriously (for exams and shit) was a decade ago, so you’ll excuse my faulty memory. While even looking for the name of the fantaisiestucke I came upon an old exam program and had totally no recollection of preparing those pieces :P
1. Poulenc – Trois Pieces: II Hymne
2. Beethoven – Sonata no. 6 in F major
3. Grieg – Violin Sonata in F major

Like I had to look the pieces up on youtube to verify that I did indeed know them and knew how to play them decently at some point in my life :x

Back to the octet, I really enjoyed the quiet movements and that bit where all the strings glided in so smoothly and quietly (the Illsley Ball auditorium has really good reverb). There were a couple of pretty embarrassing moments when the first violin cued in the final movement with an additional, accidental F, and another string bit in unison arpeggios at the end of the first movement when either the first or second vln played a Bb in an F major arpeggio :S – yes, I am that person who picks out mistakes – I don’t want to, they just jump out at me and niggle in my mind for the longest time. But Z liked them better overall than the Rimsky-Korsakov quartet, whose first vlnist he thought was a bit messy and perhaps complacent.

Am looking forward to the next campus club concerts! We also managed to score free parking that evening in downtown Seattle(!!) so the concert was totally free!

Annunci

Jenny Lynn

This is for jy.

All at once
Your city crumbles like Babylon
Even the gardens you’ve been hangin’ on
Disappear before your eyes

Take your time,
Let the words sink in before you say
your mind
Heaven knows we all get lost sometimes
You will find your way back

I tried to think of the last time I lost somebody – how much it hurt, how unhappy I was, how the stars were plucked one by one from the sky. It’s like when Sam Dong asked “Why is it so dark in Seoul?” He looks for hope in the inky black sky, but gets no answer.

Wounded,
You let your guard down and feel stupid
You wish you never would have trusted
Your heart in someone else’s hands

But it’s all okay
I think you may have made the best mistake
I think we’re made to give ourselves away
Cause there’s no other way to live

The art of losing isn’t hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Losing your watch, losing your keys, losing the person you love – the mistake seems to lie in even thinking that anything on this earth is yours. That our lives, a mere clock cycle, are long enough for us to establish a semblance of ownership or control.

Rather, instead of amassing posessions, affections, persons, for yourself, live with the object of being all things to all people. Give of yourself unreservedly and without expectation.

Do Min Joon once told Cheon Song Yi the secret to not getting hurt by people: “Don’t give or take anything. Don’t expect anything either. Then, you won’t be disappointed or hurt.”

I’ll be the first to say that that’s no way to live.

Jenny Lynn,
I wish that I had your thin skin
I wish that I could let the love right in
Maybe I’d rather feel the pain

Cause freedom is
A naked heart that always dares to give
A willingness to let the tenderness
Be taken as it may

Embrace pain. Embrace heartbreak. The span of a human life is not long enough for a person to grow up as it is.

We headed down to the National Museum on Sunday after lunch at Toa Payoh to see the Sebastiao Salgado photo exhibition there (Genesis). It is an exhibit of his and his wife’s (Lelia Walnick Salgado)’s photography project to document the beginnings of our world, or rather, parts of our modern world that remain unchanged from its beginnings. It includes photos of various indigenous tribes in Brazil, various landscapes and animal colonies in the North and South pole, vistas and geographically interesting regions in Brazil and other parts of South America, and various islands in the British Isles.

The exhibit was completely in black and white; there is a teaser exhibit outside the main exhibit, which you need tickets to go to. Tickets are free for singaporeans (perhaps everyone? not sure about this), but you do need to collect the tickets at the museum ticket office using your pink IC. Which is really superfluous and somewhat against the environmental preservation message of the entire show, especially since they got funding from a Brazilian mining company (Vale) whose key objective is to produce sustainable energy. Couldn’t we just flash our pink ICs at the door to gain entrance? What is the point of printing the tickets?

The photos are brilliant, edgy, have marvellous composition, although some are blown up really large and are a bit grainy because of the film he uses to capture high speed photos, something I have yet to learn how to appreciate. The photos in the external “free” exhibition are also framed with glossy glass panes, which interferes with the viewer’s enjoyment of the photos because of the multitude of reflections on each print. You can read more about his experiences on shooting with the Nenets and drinking reindeer blood and other extreme conditions of this project here.

After the photo exhibit was probably our last SSO chamber concert for some time at SOTA. I planned on going to the exhibition on Sunday because it’s just across the street from SOTA, and we had planned on attending this particular concert (Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 1 and Vaughan William’s Piano Quintet in C minor was playing with my favourite musicians as usual) about a month or so back when the publicity first came out. We didn’t bother purchasing the tickets until the week we came back from Italy because the concert had free seating (their sunday afternoon concerts at SOTA usually do) and there was no rush to get the good seats when all you have to do is to show up earlier.

I think I actually received two brochures in the post about this concert, plus an email, which made me think that perhaps the ticket sales were not doing too well. When we actually showed up a quarter of an hour before the concert though, a lot of seats in the left half of the stall were filled, and still more people came, to have the largest turnout I’ve seen at a Sunday afternoon chamber concert so far.

I like chamber concerts because I prefer chamber music to orchestral music, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of decent chamber ensembles performing independently in Singapore (or perhaps I don’t do enough research). So it was really nice to listen to a piano trio or a quintet for once instead of a concerto/symphony. I think more work needs to go into chamber performances too, because you are unsupported by your section – each instrumentalist has to carry his own and any mistakes can be immediately attributed to the only violinist in the group, or the only cellist in the group, etc.

I didn’t really like the first pianist’s rendition of the Mendelssohn piano trio – I thought her playing was a bit flustered/messy. The runs weren’t clear or confident and there were quite a few errors. The second ensemble that played the Vaughan Williams quintet was clearly the more together one, but they had the better pianist, and I have always been biased to that particular cellist and bassist. The Vaughan Williams also had more interesting sonorities and harmonies for the piano quintet genre (I haven’t listened to any of his chamber music before), but that didn’t stop either of us from sneaking little naps in the boring movements of both pieces. I stayed awake for most of the second piece, but we were out cold for entire sections of the first piece. The problem was working on D and S’s wedding prezi slideshow until 3am on saturday, and then having to wake at 7.45am on sunday morning to go to church, and not having any time to fit in an afternoon nap before the chamber concert because I intelligently decided to go for Genesis. I don’t regret any of it! We even spotted a white shouldered starling outside SMU while walking from the National Museum to SOTA, which was pretty cool.

Sebastiao Salgado’s book is selling for $98 in the museum shop, but is $47 on Amazon. This is the regular sized copy by Taschen. The larger sized display copy goes for about $5560 in the museum gift shop.

I suppose I should do some posts on Italy soon. It was a very undocumentable trip – everywhere was filled with breathtaking beauty and sunlit vales and tangled vineyards and blue skies and poppy fields – you just feel it’s a bit unfair on artists living anywhere else in the world but Tuscany, to have all their senses assaulted in this manner every single day while doing something as mundane as driving to the supermarket. Do you know what I see while walking to the supermarket at Yishun MRT? Neighbourhood cats fighting, the occasional rat, students canoodling in the study corner. Unspeakably ugly architecture that is our HDB estates. Even more visually disturbing are the brightly colored playgrounds and garbage bins, the clothes that people wear, the simultaneously orange AND blue bus stops. Grass and mud everywhere, not a flower in sight.

In Singapore, you have to work to find art. In Tuscany, art finds you.

What do I mean by “undocumentable” then? It’s simple – to document the trip with clumsy words (for these take the least brain power to write) would be to spoil anything you experienced. If there was any single motivation to become a better writer, it would be to not debase your own memories with cheesy descriptions. (Not saying anything about anyone *cough* Liangze *cough* :P)

Hitlerishness

Another great post on the Borowitz Report:

LONDON (The Borowitz Report) – In response to the international uproar created when he reportedly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Hitler, His Royal Highness Prince Charles today issued the following letter of apology to the Russian people.

My dear Russians,

Yesterday, it was reported that I compared your President Putin to Hitler. If by making this comment I have in some way offended you, I am deeply sorry. Adolf Hitler was one of the horrible villains in world history, and comparing President Putin to him was uncalled for.

What I should have said, and what I say to you now, is that this Putin chap can be a bit Hitlery at times.

Let’s take, for example, his penchant for taking territory that doesn’t belong to him and then adding it to his country and so forth. Would you call that behavior Hitlery or not Hitlery? From where I sit, it’s more like something Hitler would do than something he wouldn’t do, and so the verdict must be, yes, the chap is being rather Hitlery when he does that.

And, while we’re on the subject, what about Putin’s use of tanks? Also very Hitlery. Again, let me be clear: I am not calling him Hitler—but if you think you can use tanks and not come off a tad bit Hitlery, you’re not right in the head.

Since I made my remarks, some British politicians have suggested that I abdicate my position as Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne. In other words, they believe that I do not have the right to free speech. If memory serves, back in the nineteen-thirties another chap went around trying to punish people for speaking their minds. I’m not going to name names, but if the shoe fits…

Yours truly,

H.R.H. Prince Charles

While nursing my humongous crush on Kim Soo Hyun I managed to get liangze to watch all of his dramas :P from You from another star, the Moon embracing the Sun (which we talked about at his grandma’s house yesterday and discovered his aunty and cousins have also watched it! I am turning into a Singaporean aunty!), and now, Dream High. :P One thing I can’t stand about the way he watches Korean dramas is how he likes to watch it at 1.5 – 2 times the original speed, since we’re both reading subtitles anyway it doesn’t matter to him that they are speaking inhumanly fast or that the music is different or all subtlety is lost. He just wants to get over all those “looking” scenes (where the various actors look at each other with tear filled eyes without actually saying anything or contributing to the plot) as quickly as possible. Nuanced micro-acting is not something he has learnt to appreciate yet. Or the fineness of Kim Soo Hyun’s eyes.

LZ has however fallen for our dear Miss Sushi (or IU) in Dream High because she was a little tubby and had cute black glasses and also has really cute mannerisms. To repay the favour I’ll watch two of her dramas with him (I like her too, but definitely not in the same way as I like KSH).

So the drama round up of things to watch next would be..
1) Sungkyunkwan Scandal
2) Bel Ami
3) Lee Soon Shin is the best
4) My girlfriend is a gumiho

Violin Concerto in G Minor

(3 May 2014)

We got to hear Ilya Gringolts play Bruch’s 1st violin concerto on Saturday and he was really amazing. Such beautiful tone and technique! The encore pieces were a little show offy, but I really enjoyed the Bruch. I think you don’t hear too much about Max Bruch, as the program notes explains, all his work is non-controversially good and enjoyed in his time. I didn’t even know his first name was Max lol.

I fell asleep midway in the Mother Goose Suite (probably shouldn’t have binge watched all those episodes the night before) – I didn’t even have time to nap on Saturday because we had worship practice at 9am in the morning (!?!? That’s earlier than I go to work) which was followed by carting some of my friday shopping to my house (from LZ’s house) and carting his suitcase from my house to his house (from our US trip in March haha see how much we procrastinate), and then I squashed in a few more episodes before we left for dinner at the concert hall. So apparently My Humble House has closed and is now replaced by its polar opposite, Grand Pavilion. It’s funny because all the decor is the same, even the menu is extremely similar to the old one (except they removed the tapas menu), but they got a brand relift to make it sound like a more legit Cantonese restaurant. I wonder if it’s owned by the same people. We were contemplating between My Humble House and Supply & Demand (a bar next to Glutton’s Bay) that serves pretty good pizza and desserts but didn’t have that much time before the concert so we wound up at the nearest open place. Anyway Supply & Demand is great for late-night post-concert eats if you’re not hungry before the concert (SSO concerts start uniformly at 7:30pm, which necessitates eating at 6:30pm, which is pretty early for me)

I struggled awake during the Bruch, slept through a bit of the adagio, but was wide awake for the 3rd movement. His double stops were amazing, and everything was so clean! Gringolts plays a strad, and has a perky little beard befitting his antics on the violin. I wish they put the Bruch after the intermission, I was wide awake for the Petrushka, which well, doesn’t really need 100% concentration. The orchestration was great, and the winds outdid themselves as usual. I think in the future I’ll probably go for Cat 3/Cat 2 seats, i.e. Rows E/F onwards – the orchestral balance is much better for the $7 price differential (Of course it doesn’t make a difference if you are going to be sleeping through the concert :P). In rows A/B you hear far too much of the first violins than necessary.

It’s a pretty bad idea to interrupt a drama diet with things like movies and concerts I think. All throughout any non-drama material I watched in my drama haze I was always eager to get the distractions out of the way (even if I paid more for the distractions than I did for the drama) and lamenting the lack of good looking people in the distractions. Everyone in the Lunchbox which we watched 2 weeks ago (while I was in the middle of You From Another Star) was so ugly! At least when I go to SSO concerts I can stare at Ng Pei Sian (the cello chair), who looks rather similar to Kim Soo Hyun actually, but with a cello. I think if he got the Do Manager hair style he would be irresistible and SSO would have to start paying him to do CFs. They’ve given him his own subscription concerts each year, where he performs one cello concerto (or cello+violin concerto), usually to a hall of female fans. Perhaps the key is to watch dramas in the summer, when all orchestras have a break.

Here are some “normal life” things I managed to accomplish in my drama haze though, of which I am immensely proud of myself:
1. I baked a huge batch of lemon-candied ginger shortbread cookies to fulfill an order (my first order!) – 121 cookies for $48.
2. I baked Carrie Vasios’ almond butter and oatmeal cookies one week after just to use up the Jif almond butter I’d brought back from the US. It’s a good recipe, but about 50% of its goodness came from the chocolate chips that I added :P It’s gluten free, so can be a bit boring.
3. I painted a piece commissioned by LZ’s mum (Monet’s Sunrise) for his dad on Labour Day. It’s good to know that I don’t really need to practice to be able to paint decently. However I do wonder how much better I can get – I think I have been steadily improving with each painting, despite the huge time lag between each time I get enough motivation to paint.

Sunrise was a good exercise in color blending and perfect for me, because I only have acrylic colors and extremely primitive brushes that can only do impressionistic work. The next pieces I am looking to copy are a black and white clock triptych and also some of Norberto’s Little Monk paintings (Arte Naif) which should be quite easy to copy on account of them being painted by an amateur like me. Sunrise will be given to LZ’s dad on his birthday this year – actually it was meant for his birthday last year, but I hadn’t found the time to do it until now despite having bought the canvas nearly 7 months ago. I had to make another trip to Art Friend on Friday to pick up soluble gloss varnish for acrylic paint because the colors I use are very dull. Acrylics are basically a hyped up version of the poster paints we used to paint with in art class when we were kids.
4. I played for a sunday service. Have begged off all duties from June onwards – I think it borders on cruel to sign people up for worship team duties for 1-2 months when they are leaving in August/September. I don’t mind going down to church to play on Sundays (I mean, I’ll be going to church anyway), but having to go down on a separate day to practice is the thing that really gets me because I don’t accomplish technical/improvisational elan during the practice, I just run through the songs (sometimes many times) with people who, despite knowing that they need lots of help identifying their entrance, are pretty uncooperative at looking at me when I cue them in -.-
5. I got work done at work and pretty much wrapped up one project while being extremely sleep deprived.

Living life on the edge like this is pretty exhilarating (I mean being sleep deprived and running on adrenaline most of the time) I don’t really feel tired, if anything, I feel hyper engaged with life. Although for the sake of grad school I hope Kim Soo Hyun enlists in the army in September this year so I will be able to pass my quals. Compulsory military service really kills the careers of many Hallyu stars – I don’t understand why they can’t do it at age 18-20 like normal Singaporean guys, which is an awkward age for all guys anyway.

More on Smooth Operators

LZ: I still don’t understand what the song means. What’s a smooth operator?
I: It’s a guy who is very smooth with girls
LZ: So what, like a pimp?
I: Noooooo
LZ: So what does he operate?
I: Girls.
LZ: But he’s not a pimp.
I: No.. He doesn’t operate girls! He operates ON girls
LZ: … So he could be a surgeon

wow that’s one guy who’ll never be a smooth operator lol.
The only reason we’re talking about it is because it’s my new favourite song, although according to LZ the line “coast to coast, LA to Chicago, Western male” was voted one of the worst lyrics of all time because of the accents.

The version I listen to is Eduardo Braga’s cover:

Christmas!


Here’s a digital illustration liangze did on Paper, the ipad app by 53. Our pencil hasn’t arrived yet, but this looks pretty awesome don’t you think? He thinks he’s going to stop drawing things on the app now, since nothing he draws will ever look as nice as this, apparently. We’ll see what happens when the pencil comes. We’ll probably have to get an Ipad Air instead of an Ipad Mini to do some serious graphic design on that app. I did the words and the cute little snowflake!

I started the day with Ze’s family and ended it with my family – and no church-going involved whatsoever. We went around delivering christmas presents and kueh lapis we brought back from Batam to everyone in the Bishan area (i.e. his cousins and Szeling) and also gave his parents their presents – I’ve decided to only give them either perishables or new things to replace old things in their house because there’s just too much clutter. Previous years I got them decorative items (like one of my paintings or painted eggs which are now on display and contributing to the clutter) But this year I’m having none of that. For his mum’s birthday last Friday, we got her a toaster oven because her old toaster oven had been overheating everything from toast to meat for nearly three years. The new one we got her had a little temperature dial so she can set it at whatever temperature she wants. The old one will soon be given to their cleaner, who actually wants a toaster. For Christmas we got his dad medium cut Seville orange marmalade (he doesn’t like thin cut peel) and his mum Tetsuya’s salad vinaigrette. They don’t do christmas presents because I think it’s difficult for a pastor to give christmas presents – you risk offending people by getting some people something and other people nothing. Or perhaps it’s because they don’t believe in the tradition. I love giving/receiving presents because it’s fun to shop and even more fun to shop while thinking fondly of all the wonderful people in your life.

After playing at Santa the entire morning we headed to my place, where my mum had reheated a turkey breast roast and made rojak. I didn’t even know you could make rojak at home :S my mum is pretty good at local cuisine when she sets her mind to it. I think I’m better at cooking American/European things. We brought back five boxes of mashed potatoes from KFC (it’s actually nice in singapore) to go with her turkey so there wouldn’t be too much work to prep lunch. My entire family (excluding me) have been down with a virus and have been hacking and sniffling away for nearly two weeks! They were all hoarse and congested at the dining table it’s almost a biohazard to stay at home. I narrowly avoided catching it by going away to Batam (more on that later). So I was initially going to go with my parents to my church’s service (from 4-7pm) and then go for Bethel’s christmas service from 7.30pm – 10pm.. which does sound like a lot of church. Well I do enjoy christmas and the carols and the church services (probably not the sermons) but my mum decided to stay home because she was feeling unwell.. and I was feeling unwell (not to mention sleepy, after the overnight round of 80 points at Batam) too so we all stayed home in the end, leaving lz to go to church all by his lonesome :P He was a shepherd in the Bethel christmas service so couldn’t stay home with me.

I made dinner for my parents after my 3 hour nap because everyone was out of commission and probably wouldn’t eat dinner at all if nobody cooked (my parents are like that. Meals are optional with them). Fried up some farfalle off the top of my head which tasted pretty good but was a tad spicy which may not have been the best for my mum’s sore throat. Here is what I did (for documentation):

Ingredients (serves 4):
8 strawberry tomatoes, sliced into thirds
Handful of torn basil from my herb garden
Bunch of snipped up chives from my herb garden
One red onion (any size you prefer), chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 packet of chili flakes from an old pizza delivery
Dried parsley flakes
1.5 cups of shredded turkey breast ham
Black pepper and salt to taste
Ketchup, sweet Thai chili sauce, and oyster sauce to taste
Vegetable oil (for frying)
4 eggs, beaten with salt and white pepper
Pot of boiled farfalle (bow tie pasta) for 4 – you can substitute fusilli or rigatoni

Method:
1. Pour some oil in the wok, fry the eggs, scraping from the sides of the pan and turning until only slightly wet. Chop them into smaller chunks with the spatula, then remove from the wok.
2. Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the wok, turn the heat on high.
3. When the oil is shimmering, toss in the garlic chips, a sprinkle of salt, and fry till golden. Toss in the red onion and a sprinkle of sugar; stir to prevent from burning.
4. When the onion has softened, toss in the pasta, the cherry tomatoes, the turkey breast, the fried eggs, the basil, and the chives, in that order.
5. Stir to mix everything up. Add 5 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce, 4 tbsp of ketchup, and 2 tbsp of oyster sauce.
6. Grind black peppercorns over the pasta for about 5 seconds (I use my electric black pepper mill, hence the timing), and toss in about half a pack of chili flakes from the pizzeria. Add the dried parsley.
7. Toss everything till the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce. Taste and add salt accordingly. I added about 1.5 tsp of Himalayan pink salt.

This is a dry pasta, so don’t expect much sauce. It will probably also taste good chilled as a salad but since there are golden flakes of garlic in it it’s best served warm. My parents liked it quite a bit.

Dinner was eaten all by my lonesome since LZ was at his christmas service. I don’t really like the way his church does christmas because of the multiple rehearsals – don’t think it’s necessary. Plenty of competent people at his church who can pull off a decent Christmas service with just the one rehearsal, I think. And it’s just a service, shouldn’t the meaning behind the event be more important than the execution? I like the way Vespers are done at Cornell – I’d be surprised if there was even one rehearsal for that. Probably the Glee club and the Chorus will have to practice, but apart from that, no one else. And it’s perfect every time. So since nobody was around (I served my parents but didn’t eat with them – my family doesn’t really seem to have this practice. Everyone was eating at the same time, but glued to a TV screen haha. In fact my parents were watching the same TV show, but my mum was in her room while my dad was in the living room, and the TV was turned to the same channel. Bizarre.) I myself watched the BBT episode where Amy tries to cure Sheldon of his OCD about gaining closure. It’s not that my family doesn’t communicate, it’s just that we already had lunch together, and I think extreme introversion runs in the family :P

I played a bunch of Scarlatti sonatas from 9-10pm. It was a perfectly tranquil night – even though a good 300 people live in my apartment block, all was quiet and my piano is situated in this little cove under the staircase (think harry potter) which has awesome reverb. Scarlatti sounded great there. I bought 2 books (his complete sonatas) off Amazon sometime this year but haven’t really gotten around to playing all of them. I only like the slow sonatas (I am getting old) so I play the Allegro/Presto ones slow too, and they sound nice like that. (My Budapest piano instructor wished me a Merry Christmas on fb today which made me think I should probably go get some of the dust off my piano :P He’s currently in Iceland working in a conservatory.) After the Scarlatti I did some pop music, Richard Marx and Norah Jones and some of Phillip Keveren’s New Age arrangements, which are particularly nice at night. My dad came downstairs and parked himself in the middle of the living room to listen. I think they prefer it when I play pop music to classical music, although through the years they probably have come to appreciate quite a lot more classical music than if I didn’t play the piano. Esoteric stuff too, because that’s the stuff you put in your exam repertoire if you don’t want your examiners nitpicking you on well known pieces haha.

All in all, an extremely satisfying christmas, even though most of it was spent apart from LZ because he agreed to be a shepherd :S I also finished Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl today, which I thought was amazing and have now added my reading-Rainbow-Rowell-books withdrawal symptoms to my playing-80-points withdrawal symptoms. Life is tough :(