I had a voice lesson last Wednesday. I've been feeling really good about my lessons lately, like things are really starting to come together and my muscles are starting to internalize how they're supposed to move and behave when I'm singing. But Wednesday for whatever reason, probably a combination of tiredness and pollution, it took about half the lesson of different exercises to get my voice behaving correctly. But once it started sounding right, I was able to hold it there and sing through the numbers I've been working on and they sounded pretty good. Linda, my teacher, approved, and although she is an upbeat, constructive person, she won't hand out compliments when they aren't due.
We had a Chinese New Year party at my house on Friday, complete with a full-fledged Mongolian barbecue in the living room, manned by Dennis the jack-of-all-trades. The house smelled like a Chinese restaurant all day Saturday until Sarah decided enough was enough and opened the doors wide. The house aired out nicely, but it was like a fridge inside.
I went to hear the Utah Symphony on Saturday. I love the symphony. Why don't I go more often? It's such a fun reason to get dressed up and it's so easy to feel sophisticated when you're sitting in the elegant auditorium of Abravenal Hall.
They played Smetana's Ma Vlast in its entirety, all six movements. I had only heard three of them before. The whole symphony is so lyrical and poetic, although my favorite was The Moldau, without a doubt. This may be in part because I played the second flute part in high school, but it's also because The Moldau is simply a beautiful piece of music. I know of few program pieces that tell their story with such clarity and colorful illustration. The Moldau is a river in what was Czechoslovakia, Smetana's homeland ("Ma Vlast" means "My Country" in Czech, and each of the six movements is about a different region or a different story in Czechoslovakia). Listening to The Moldau is a journey of following the river from its source- little rivulets that are represented by two flutes- down as they become larger and merge and become a full-blown river. The river goes past a hunting party in the forest, a wedding party in the meadows, an old, abandoned castle by moonlight, and fairy sprites come out to play on its surface. It hits some rapids and waterfalls and then flows off into the distance. I love it because I've pictured the story that goes with it a hundred times in my head and I know every turn of the music and where it will take me on my journey down the river.
Someday I'll go see the Moldau river, and when I do, that music will be playing over and over in my head.
On a final note, patience has paid off and the first of the three amaryllis bulbs I planted in the living room planter is now gorgeous: