Jan. 2nd, 2017 02:55 pm
cahn: (Default)
Now that Yuletide reveals are over (I have a more conventional reveal post here) I can finally inflict on you guys all the feelings I have about Earthsea, which I read again for the first time in many years (at least ten, maybe fifteen) this fall.

...I have a lot of feelings.

The second trilogy, which I reread first. )

The first trilogy, which I read second. )

Le Guin and style. )
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Merry Christmas and Happy Yuletide! I am still alive! Okay, so, I realize I am waaaay behind on well, life in general, and the documentation thereof, but I had to say something about my (four!! You crazy awesome people, you!) Yuletide fics because they are marvelous and also because I am worried no one will see them, partially because they're all in small fandoms to begin with and partially because of a sequence of events that wasn't really anyone's fault but which meant the ones in Tiptree fandom didn't get wrangled (*) :(((((((( So please go read and shower love on these, pleeeease!

My gift:
Firebound (2345 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Der Ring des Nibelungen | The Ring of the Nibelung - Wagner
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Ambiguous or Implied Relationship(s), Brynhildr/Sieglinde
Characters: Brynhildr | Brunnhilde, Loge (Ring des Nibelungen)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Fate & Destiny, References antisemitic stereotypes

There isn't much to do at the top of a desolate mountain, bound by inviolate will, except to chat.

I asked for Brunnhilde and Loge, talking, because the way Ring is set up they have a lot of the same concerns, and would that not be awesome? Answer: yes! Yes, it is awesome! It is especially awesome when Norse myth and gnomic wisdom is interspersed throughout, when Sieglinde plays a prominent role even though she's not actually in the fic except very briefly, and when it is AU that is fix-it, which is totally what I want from Ringfic. I was really pleased by this and you should definitely read it if you have any interest in the Ring Cycle or Norse myth at all!

My treats were all in my requested fandom Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree, Jr.. The link should get you to where you can see all the fics, as well as a tiny ficlet that some anonymous person wrote to get the fandom wrangled only that didn't happen, but anyway.

The Greek Origins of Certain Words (2788 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree Jr.
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Male Character
Characters: Original Characters
Additional Tags: Science Fiction, Post-Canon, Body Modification, Dysfunctional Relationships, Yuletide Treat

“It’s a dying field,” Elsie said, “pornography.” She and Desmond were in bed together and she had taken to idly fidgeting with his body, as though he were terrain she was mapping: that was the term her industry used for relatively unmarked flesh. The terrain.

This is an amazing piece of work, possibly written by undead Tiptree (heh, wouldn't that be a story) -- it is so point on and spectacularly Tiptree in both voice and theme. It's sort-of-kind-of a sequel to, or at least takes place in the same universe as, "And I Awoke And Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side" -- but you don't need to have read the story to read this. Not only does this story replicate the breathless cadences and seventeen-new-worldbuilding-ideas-a-minute SF that characterize Tiptree's best work, but it's brilliantly about Tiptree's major themes: sex, love, biology, and what it means to be human. Especially the sex part -- from one point of view this fic is one extended (philosophical!) sex scene with kink, but the sex is crucial: it's part and parcel of examining the philosophical and SF-ian underpinnings of the universe, story, and humanity. This is just amazing. If you like Tiptree, this is basically required reading! But in general, if you are interested in stories about sex, love, biology, philosophy, what it means to be human, and/or in darn good SF, read it!

As Though to Breathe Were Life (2922 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree Jr.
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Male Character(s)
Additional Tags: Original Character-centric, Alien Cultural Differences, Not Entirely Hopeless

“It’s a human thing,” I say. “The struggle, you don’t get how much we need it. Really trying, setting your heart on something grand and impossible, win or die.”

This is the one I feel extremely protective towards, because not only is it in a super-small unwrangled fandom but it's also in Madness! So I worry a lot about it not getting anything like its fair share of love. Anyway, this one is also super worth reading and you should all read it. It isn't Tiptree pastiche and actually reads much more like original SF, and therefore I think you don't need to have read any canon, and it's enjoyable even if you hate Tiptree -- but yet has all those Tiptreeian themes -- what does it mean to have free will, or not; what does it mean to be human, in all its pain and glory and terribleness. It is heartbreaking and wonderful.

(Also, I am totally guessing that morbane wrote this for me. If so, thank you!! If not, well, take this as a compliment :) )

The Dead Authors Podcast Chapter 60: James Tiptree Jr. (1299 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree Jr., The Dead Authors (Podcast), 20th Century CE RPF
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: James Tiptree Jr., Alice Sheldon, H.G. Wells (The Dead Authors Podcast)
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat, Yuletide, Time Travel, Gender Issues, Feminist Themes, Trans Character, Politics, RPF, Star Trek References

"I must ask, should I be addressing you as James, Tip, Alice, or Raccoona?"

Man, I wish I'd had the idea to cross over James Tiptree Jr. as a guest on the Dead Authors Podcast! (If you haven't listened to this podcast, you should at least listen to the Ayn Rand one, which is completely hilarious.) I've only listened to a couple of them, but I get the impression that generally in the podcast the "dead authors" tend to stay in their previous-life personas; here we get Alice Sheldon changed by her journey to the future into someone who can articulate things about feminism and trans-issues that she was not able to do in her own life.

(*)Cut for discussion of how no one did anything wrong but we all lost: fandom names and tag wrangling. )

cahn: (Default)
So! This Yuletide I got some lessons on writing design. (Actual Yuletide reveals post here, very abbreviated because of life; here I mostly just like to talk about what I read/watched.)

First: I read a whole lot of Damon Runyon and also watched a couple of Youtube high school productions of Guys and Dolls. (I also watched some of the movie — Marlon Brando is amazing, but it turns out that the raw musical is actually rather more charming than the movie.) Damon Runyon is basically the master of voice and also the master of the humor-laden plot-heavy short story. Reading a lot of stories at once can get a little, hmm, repetitive? But he has a way with plot twists and last-line zingers that I can only dream of properly replicating!

Second: I reread The Fountainhead, which is of course completely the other way around. It's not completely devoid of humor (…Atlas Shrugged might be? It's been a long time since I've been able to get through much of AS), but it's not a humorous work as a whole, and what humor there is, is very dry. And it's definitely… a long-form work as opposed to the short sweet Runyon stories. I do think that Fountainhead was very informative and educational for me in how to manage and write a (very) long-form work, which Rand is good at. It's hard, at this point, to separate my current reading from my original very indulgent high-school reading, and there are plenty of times I think the book might have been stronger if she'd cut some obviously-authorially-beloved scenes, and obviously there's a lot of philosophical padding that could have been cut, but even so I do think she sustains interest through an extremely long novel which is mostly about guys designing buildings.

Of course, one major way she does this is by piling the tropes on top of tropes; I don't think she did it consciously, but, I mean, she couldn't have piled more in if she had tried: hurt/comfort, angst, the essential woobie (hi darling Peter!), smarm/slashy slashy Roark/Wynand, competence kink, dubcon/noncon (let's face it, that's what that initial Dominique/Howard encounter was all about) -- which is super amusing.
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(My dad's) family is having a reunion for Christmas! Everyone is too busy skiing (and, in the California kids' cases, playing in SNOW ahahahaha SNOW I just saw a SNOWFLAKE MOMMY now I'm going to throw a snowball at you!! Here is how you make a snow angel!) to think about anything else, really. It seems a little weird to me to ski on Christmas (I kind of feel bad for the ski employees?) but it's fun to have a white Christmas!

In any case I am not doing skiing this trip, so instead today my mom and I had basically an all-day conversation (which was (mostly) nice and which we haven't gotten to do for years), and also I basked in WINNING YULETIDE. Because that is what happened this year. Because three five(!) people (possibly fewer, I guess, but I'm betting they're three five different people) ARE INCREDIBLY AWESOME. Seriously, if I had gotten one of these fics I would have declared myself to have won Yuletide. And I have never even gotten a full-length Yuletide treat before! Anyway! I usually link stories on my other page when I do recs, but these are all so amazing that you should all read them and I don't want to wait to do a rec post because I want everyone to read them Right Now (and kudos and comments because they deserve All the Love) because they are That Brilliant.

You don't need to know canon to read any of them, though they will be especially brilliant if you do know canon.

First, my assigned writer WROTE ME A CORDWAINER SMITH STORY. The Old Ghost of Peaceful Repose is an amazing original SF story in the style of and universe of Cordwainer Smith, who wrote these incredible stories about people and robots and the animal-derived underpeople. It's filled with zany humor and worldbuilding and compassion and craziness and totally random poetry, just like canon. (And allusions! Possibly to another yuletide request I had... see below...)

Then I got two full-length treats as well(!)

And Even the Graves Are Lost is an interactive fiction expanding on the events of Preiddeu Annwn, a Welsh Arthurian poem, and it is just perfect. It is pitch-perfect in medieval-Welsh voice, elegiac tone, story, everything. If you have any interest in Arthurian literature or medieval Welsh literature or in thinking about how audiences and tellers of stories interact (which is where the IF comes in), go read this. Right now.

Bardd is a story that explains what is going on in Preiddeu Annwn. I include the reference because, although it's a neat Arthurian story even if you haven't read the poem, it is especially brilliant if you have.

ETA. AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES. ...I should have waited just an hour! As soon as I posted this, Madness went live and I have two fics there which are also completely marvelous! I'm going to have to finish that rec post soon! THANK YOU MYSTERY AUTHORS, YOU ARE THE BEST.

My third yuletide fandom was Philip Larkin's poem "Church Going," which was the one I least expected a fic for, given its understated nature and number of signup offerors... and so I was thrilled to get a drabble for it, This Cross of Ground, which encapsulates what I love about the poem: what remains when belief is gone? Something of what was, some last remnant, but divorced from meaning, or taking on new meanings.

And then another full-length treat in Madness! Three fillings of Prydwen is a crossover of Preiddeu Annwn with Y Gododdin!! and female-centric, with the kind of critical deconstruction of both events that you only get from looking at it from that perspective. And even with understated F/F! Of course you want to read this, right?! It's just lovely -- I didn't even know this is what I wanted, but I so did.
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I may have gone a little overboard in listening/watching different versions. Note that these are very personal opinions… all you have to do is go on amazon to find people who strenuously disagree with me :)

Note that I do not know German, so cannot remark on that, and I mostly don't pay attention to the dialogue in recordings that contain it. I also have not generally talked about Papageno and not much about Pamina, for the simple reason that pretty much every recording I listened to had awesome singers for both.

First, I want to talk a little about the video recording I liked best, which is available on Youtube here with English subtitles. (I do not yet own this, but in the next Amazon run will buy it.)

BBC (2003): 4/5. Very solid singing and acting in this one. SIMON KEENLYSIDE, as usual, steals the show as Papageno. Dorothea Röschmann is a really great Pamina, very sweet, a very lovely singer, who is very believable in her whole arc; I really like her interpretation. Her acting during and after the Queen's big aria makes my heart break for her. I like Will Hartman very much; I think he believably acts his despair at having to repudiate Pamina, although his voice acting is not nearly as good as Röschmann's. Diana Damrau is a great Queen of the Night, her singing very natural and lovely while still nailing all the notes, although I sort of thought her costuming was a bit over-the-top (it reminded me of the Galadriel scene in the movie version of LOTR).

I liked the direction very much. And an interpretation I haven't seen in the other versions I watched: in the trial scenes where Tamino has to repudiate Pamina, it's awful for him. Really awful. To the extent that when the chorus comes in with a cheering aria after that, it's played more like a dirge, with him on his knees in despair. And when he then tells her to step back ("Zurück!"), it's a cry of despair, like his heart is being torn in two. Which, as far as I'm concerned, it should feel like for him. (In my fic/interpretation, I took this a little farther, where Tamino realizes he should not have repudiated her. I think this production definitely had this as a conscious subtext, though they didn't quite take the last step into making it more explicit.)

As far as I am concerned, this is the video Zauberflöte to get. Of the ones I've seen, I think this is my favorite so far. I don't own it yet, but I will in my next amazon order. The subtitles are not very accurate, as far as I can tell.

Now more than you ever wanted to know about the audio recordings. These are all available on Spotify (which is how I listened to them). Solti, Gardiner, Mackerras (Sung in English), Ostman, Abbado, Bohm, Klemperer )
cahn: (Default)
So AUGH finally it is yuletide reveals and I can Talk about The Magic Flute! (A more conventional reveal post, complete with my Flute backstory headcanon, is here, including treats in Dark is Rising, Wicked, and Mary Russell.) This Yuletide I went from liking this opera very much to being obsessed and utterly in love with this opera. I really think some of this is the most sublime stuff Mozart ever wrote (yes, okay, there's Figaro and the Exultate (the Tu coronis virgine AGH) and the Requiem,… fine, I'm being a little hyperbolic), some of the most meaningful. If I ever learn German, it well may be because of this opera, the same way that the Divine Comedy and Figaro, between them, got me to learn the small smattering of Italian that I know.

It's hard for me to know what to say about this opera to explain why I love it so. It's a very odd opera, really. It's a fairy tale, with a Prince and a Princess (or at least the daughter of a Queen), but one that doesn't really use, or subverts, fairy tale tropes: it starts out with a prince who flees from a dragon and faints, and a trio of women who kill the dragon, and it just goes on from there. It's highly symbolic and almost dreamy, but includes a bird-man who is very cheerfully down-to-earth. It turns into a Masonic initiation rite halfway through, but with the addition of a moving arc for the main female character that is combined with the initiation rite (a little more on that later). It defies categorization, even in the genres one thinks it is in, and that's part of what I love so much about it.

What I really love about it, I think, is that it's about the power of love, and mastering oneself, and the power of music. The music really is sublime, with new layers every time I listen to it. There were parts I listened to twenty times in a week, and I loved them more after the twentieth time than after the first. There were parts I had as earworms for days on end, and I didn't mind because they were such wonderful parts to have in my head. Mozart knew, I think. He knew that human beings were capable of great darkness, and he also knew they were capable of amazing love and forgiveness and redemption. It's all there in the music.

It is healing music. It is what I needed, to spend a month immersed in this opera. It was a Yuletide gift for me, to get this assignment.

(I could tell you about driving a rental car on the other side of the country with Pamina's voice ringing out: "Die Wahrheit! Sey sie auch Verbrechen!" Or the uncountable times I paused because I had to hear the end of the track that was playing and couldn't finish whatever I was doing until the track finished. Or the time I almost lost it hearing a particularly beautiful rendition of the random part "Drey Knäbchen, jung, schön, hold und weise…" Or the terrible church service at in-laws' church during which I kept myself from sobbing uncontrollably by forcing as much as I could remember of the "Hm! Hm! Hm! Hm!" quintet through my head…)

Random notes:

-The opera is full of terrible lines like "Without [a man] all women tend to step outside their own sphere of activity." And then I read the booklet to the Solti recording I own (more on that in a separate post, much more than you ever wanted), which pointed out that it's also a highly Masonic opera (I mean, I knew that too, I just wasn't paying attention to it), and so it's actually kind of cool that in this Masonic (read: totally male) context that Pamina gets to be in the climax of the opera and is admitted as an initiate. And very in keeping with the Da Ponte operas, the climaxes of which are about reconciliation and forgiveness, especially between the sexes. OH MOZART YOU SUBVERSIVE. I went from being mildly annoyed by the sexism to just utterly adoring Mozart. (Well, that, and it's really hard to hear "Tamino/Pamina mein, O welch ein Glück!" and have any annoyance at all.)

-I guess maybe it's because the first recordings I listened to made it clear that Sarastro and Pamina's father were two different people, but I never had that sense at all, and it was shocking to me that this is a common interpretation.

-I feel very strongly that there is a reason the Pamina-Tamino-Sarastro trio (Soll ich dich, Theurer! nicht mehr seh'n?) starts with Pamina against the combined Tamino-Sarastro and ends with Pamina/Tamino singing together against Sarastro. I am just saying!

-D (who is not particularly into opera, although I occasionally drag him to something he HAS to see) likes to refer to this opera as "that one where no one could be bothered to think up different names for the characters." I have to say that I have typed "Pamino" and "Tamina" a lot this month...

(Edited 1-2-14 to add in missing umlauts, thank you thistleingrey!)
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Merry Christmas and Happy Yuletide, somewhat late. I am currently celebrating my husband and brother-in-law obtaining working wireless for my parents-in-law (both husband and his brother were like, "Parents! This is unacceptable Here is a nice working wireless router for a Christmas present!"). My in-laws are the most awesome people ever, have I mentioned that? They're just this really nice, wholesome, dependable Midwestern Lutheran family, very sweet, very nice, not at all prone to the emotional drama of, um, another family I might be conversant with. Every single one of them is really nice! Is that not totally weird?!

E is, to my great relief, very much enjoying her cousins, particularly the girl cousin who is about 1.5 years older; they are both much less extreme people than they were last time we saw them (maybe 9 months ago, we suck as relatives) and get along a lot better. She has been walking in the snow and sledding and playing games with her cousins and she is never gonna want to leave. Also, all the girl cousins got adorable "poochie" doggy purses which they all absolutely adore; the feminist parts of me (and of my sister-in-law who is the cousins' mother) are completely overshadowed by the parts of me (and sister-in-law) who think it is totally cute that all three of them carry them around everywhere and love them madly.

Yuletide: Assignment recipient seems to have liked my gift, which is quite a great relief for a couple of different reasons I'll talk about at reveals. The treat also seems to be doing quite well with recipient and otherwise. Due to Doing Family Togetherness Things, I haven't been reading as much as I might have otherwise, but I do have some recs, including my present, which if you persist past the SPAG issues (and what 11k (!!) fic wouldn't have those, I expect) is a lovely People (Zenna Henderson) fic.
cahn: (Default)
Number of Christmas music events for my church done so far: 1
Number of Christmas music events for my church yet to do: 3
Number of songs I am supposed to be performing in, not counting choir: 6
Number of these I might be able to get out of: 2
Probability I might be able to get out of them: 20%

Number of songs the Bishop told us he wanted at the Christmas service: 2
Number of songs we had planned on doing: 6
Number of times the choir director told me about her unrighteous desires to throttle him: 3
Number of extremely diplomatic emails I had to write: 2
Number of songs the Bishop's counselor insisted upon when he heard about what was going on: 5 (so, yay)
Number of times I have replanned the stupid special musical number because of being unsure as to how many songs we were doing: 4

Number of songs we have for the Christmas evening event ("fireside"): 9
Number I would like: 10-12
Probability of ending up with either too many or too few songs: 70%
Number of songs we had before G. realized that I was in charge, not Other Dramatic Person: 6

Tempo of "O Come All Ye Faithful": 88-104
Tempo we actually sang it at last Sunday: 60
Number of people who have expressed general concern to me over the organist's tempo lately: >10

Number of Yuletide fics I had time to write: <~ 1
Number of Yuletide fics I have actually written: 2
Number of additional prompts I keep looking at longingly: >5
Frequency at which I have to tell myself NO: ~2x/day
Number of additional fragments I have ANYWAY: 2
Probability these will actually turn into fics: 50% for one, 10% for the other
Probability Yuletide writing may be how I deal with stress: 80%

Number of non-music, non-Yuletide, non-work related Christmas-ish tasks I have on my to-do list right now: 7
Rate at which tasks are added to this list: 3/day
Rate at which tasks get taken off this list: ~1.5/day
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Before yuletide signups open, what media should I consume or re-consume? (These can be things you've nominated, things you think I should read/watch that other people have nominated, 5-minute fandoms that you think I'd enjoy...) It should ideally be fairly short (meaning single-book or no more than 3-4 hours of watching time).

If I haven't posted about it here in the last year or so, you can take it as given that I probably need to review it at least a little before making the plunge to offer it. (And this doesn't mean I'll actually offer it, of course, but I'll think about it :) Maybe even request it?)

My list so far:
-Soon I Will Be Invincible (Grossman, would be first read)
-Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) (does anyone have a youtube link they really like? would be a reread, but first watch)
-Romeo es Julia (would be first watch)
-The Perilous Gard (Pope, reread)
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In case anyone else is interested. (This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the things I think would be most fun to read in the company of others.)

In the next week: John M. Ford’s Klingon novel, The Final Reflection (reread), in the hopes [personal profile] sineala will also reread. If anyone else does read this, and even if you don’t, I shall ask all the dumb questions I still don’t understand about this book. (I seem to remember some confusion about Maxwell Grandisson III and Van Diemen and who was responsible for whose fate. We shall see!)

In the next month or so: Cynthia Voigt’s Tillerman cycle (reread), completely out of order, and probably not including Homecoming, which I find so painful I’ve never actually gotten all the way through it. I’ve got a post on Come a Stranger queued, and probably will read The Runner, Sons from Afar, and Seventeen Against the Dealer in that order. Then probably I’ll give Homecoming a stab, and then Dicey’s Song and A Solitary Blue. (I, um, don't recommend this order if you're reading it for the first time. Start with Dicey's Song or Solitary Blue and work more-or-less in order of publication.)

In the next three months: Moby-Dick. I say three months because what with various Summer Plans I suspect it will take me that long to get through it, although of course I hope it doesn’t take that long!

In the fall: Cordwainer Smith’s short stories with [personal profile] duckwhatduck! And possibly some Baudelaire. I've never read any Baudelaire, but apparently "Drunkboat" would make a lot more sense if I had.

(Fall reading will, of course, be ramping up to Yuletide, so if there's anything else I should read for Yuletide then feel free to lecture me about it ;) I think maybe I should read Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London novels? What else?)
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[Note: This was written (though not posted) before seekingferret posted his guess, but I figured I might as well post it, what the heck. Because also: Moses und Aron!]

To tell you the story of how I came to watch this, I must tell you the story of the Extremely Non-Anonymous Yuletide Fic. So... on the yuletide brainstorming post, I meandered on, as I do, about wanting crack!Turandot. (The fic I got was not crack; was far better than crack; was the fic I would have requested if I had known it would be possible for someone to write it.) And a complete stranger, [personal profile] seekingferret, posted something very nice on that about Turandot in SPAAAAACE, and one thing led to another, as these things do, and before either of us knew what had happened he'd recced me Schoenberg's Moses und Aron.

So I watched it. I watched two versions. My favorite, the 2009 version, is available on youtube here. I do not think it is the best one musically or in terms of interpreting Schoenberg's original stage directions (both those honors go to the Straub version); however, I find it the most accessible of the available versions. The conflicted love Moses and Aron have for each other, the tension between the idea and the image, the misunderstandings Moses and Aron have, the "game of telephone" as seekingferret put it in one of his letters -- these all come across beautifully in this version. If you were in the market for a weird Schoenberg opera that takes the Exodus story and twists it around into a dialogue about the philosophy of God -- the tension between, on one hand, a God who is inherently abstract and unknowable, and on the other, the images we make to try to understand and imagine that which is incomprehensible and unimaginable -- well, anyway, if you were looking for a production that underlines and sells that, I think this is it.

However, this version does not contain the problematic unfinished third act (and for good reason; the third act does away with a lot of the relationship and tension between the two brothers/concepts, so it would not have suited the interpretation in the 2009 version), so I had to watch the Straub and Huilet version to get that. (Note: This is seekingferret's favorite, and the one he recommended to me.) This one has an Aron whose voice is quite a bit more suited to the role. It is a very spare, very -- I don't know how to describe it except in images of desert and purity and the idea of scouring away everything inessential. Which makes it exactly what Schoenberg was talking about in the opera. But which makes it, I think, somewhat less accessible to someone watching it for the first time. (Note: the Straub version comes with the libretto (Allen Forte translation, OMG DO I HAVE ISSUES with the translation, but anyway)! Also, um, I made a PDF copy so I could carry it around to write this thing, I KNOW I AM OBSESSIVE SO WHAT, so if anyone wants one, PM me).

(The third available version is apparently set during the Holocaust, and seekingferret warned me away from it. I did watch a five-minute clip of it just in case it might bother me less than him, but yeah, he was right.)

But oh, the FEELINGS I have about this opera. I felt very much the way I felt reading Jean-Paul Sartre in college, and for much the same reasons: it's fascinating stuff, really meaty fascinating stuff to think about and sink my teeth into, I totally enjoyed it, and gosh a lot of the time I felt like he was completely missing the point. I mean, really, Schoenberg?

Anyway. And then I was all agreeing with seekingferret that this HAS to have fic written for it. ...And then I found seekingferret had given up on fic for it and was not even going to nominate it, so I had to post anonymously on his DW to tell him he had to nominate/request it. I'm sure he just DIDN'T CONNECT THAT AT ALL with telling someone on the yuletide comm to watch it a week back, ha. Nor with the random person who popped up on his DW at around the same time, asking him random questions about Judaism and community (I'd already decided my "serious" fic had to be about community), at least one bit of which showed up in that fic because it was too good not to. So.

(...At least seekingferret probably didn't realize he'd be getting TWO yuletide presents, and that one of them would be total crack. But there, that's enough of that. More yuletide-reveal-ish-stuff here and here.)

Anyway, tl;dr version: This opera is so not for everyone, and I would not necessarily recommend it unless you are weirdly fascinated by early-20th-century music and religious philosophy. Like I apparently am. In which case, go for it!
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Merry Christmas, rather late, to those of you who celebrate it, and happy yuletide to those of you who celebrate that :)

I have had a very lovely week!

-The Sunday afternoon church program was amazing and the choir rocked completely, thank you choir for being amazing! (Um. I'm not actually the real choir director, but I feel a sense of proprietary ownership all the same!)

-In what appears to have been a Christmas miracle, at the very last minute the Sunday evening Christmas program for my church, the one I've been complaining a lot about lately, came together and it was not 2.5 hours long, and the singalong was only four songs (instead of twenty, like last year), and another guy and I sang two of the host's favorite songs and they were gorgeous, and one song traditionally sung every year at this event got back on the program. (All of these were points of contention at one time or another; I was probably to blame as well for digging my heels in for a couple of them.) It turned out to be wonderful and unifying and inclusive and intimate and appealing to a wide variety of people in a variety of different ways (I was undone by the couple who are semi-professional tenor-soprano singing "Silent Night" with the audience; the host was bowled over by "Grownup Christmas List"; and many people loved that the song-that's-sung-every-year was again sung) and I cannot see how it could have gone any better.

-My first Catholic Christmas mass. It was gorgeous, both visually and aurally. Just gorgeous. My mom said, "Wow, the choir was really good!" which you know means she really thought we were good! I sang a duet with DK, the same Silent Night sung at my church event on Sunday, which went quite well although I actually kind of preferred the one on Sunday, which was more intimate. We sang a mass by Hassler, which was a lot of fun, and O Magnum Mysterium by Vittoria, which is a gorgeous piece to which I am not sure we did justice at all.

-E., meanwhile, has thoroughly figured out that Christmas is for opening presents, and she was really excited about it. Particularly about the plane she could screw together and the play cell phone, both presents from her grandmother.

-Yuletide: My recipient was very pleased, and even more, understood what I was doing, which totally made my yuletide, especially given that it is a tossup whether anyone else reads it. (It is accessible even without knowing recipient's canon, I think, and if anyone does read it, I suspect it is immediately recognizable as mine from both style and content.) I am amused that my Madness fic, which took the most research (aside from assignment part a) but the least actual writing, has gotten the most interest; but there, it's in a rather more accessible canon. There's been a lot of very exciting stuff this yuletide; I'm putting together a rec list but haven't finished yet.
cahn: (Default)
Assignment (assignment was a bit complicated this year, not at all in a bad way, for reasons I will get into at reveal): betaed at great length by my SUPER AWESOME betas, posted, and done! unless I decide to mess with the summary

Treat: undergoing severe second-draft revision/rewrite after massive (see also: SUPER AWESOME) first-run beta comments. Will be done one way or another by Christmas Eve

Life/music: continuing extremely extraneous drama that is in the grand scheme of things entirely and completely unimportant but let me be silly and frivolous, it is taking up time when I COULD BE WRITING, DARN IT

Kid: has gotten a lot of hugs and cuddles in the last week. Has asked for a lot of hugs, as if she knew I was craving them (although probably mostly because she is striving not to nap, which comes with a deal of crankiness). Child care spotty this week, have been spending a lot of time with her (though admittedly sometimes she has had to put up with a lot of Music and Drama), and she is way more fun now that she is actually a real person, which happened sometime in the last two months or so

Parents: in town tomorrow

Work: are you kidding? Work with all this going on? (Not that I wouldn't, of course, prioritize work over either yuletide or music, but this week is really slow for various reasons.)

Books: I feel like I lured people over here on [personal profile] kouredios's friending meme with the idea I talked about books a lot, and, um, I haven't been doing that a lot lately because of all this other stuff. After Christmas, I promise to get back both to reading and to posting about books more.
cahn: (Default)
So, I did Yuletide. And it was awesome and it kicked my butt, and the only way I managed to survive was because I had approximately one-third of the workload at work and music-wise that I was expecting this year, and all of that extra time went into Yuletide. I... had an extremely good time, and I adored writing both my assignment (which was the best assignment EVER) and the random slightly-cracky treat that I started writing while waiting for assignments to go out, and I bow down to the complete awesomeness of my betas (both in how much they improved things and in how much time they were willing to put into it, in a devilishly busy month), and I adored seeing what everyone else had done, and I am loving getting comments. I am, however, rather amused that the humorous treat I knocked together in half the time of my serious assignment, and which caused me rather less than half the wordsmithing and storysmithing angst of my assignment, has gotten much more praise (not surprised, though, as the treat is in a much more popular fandom. Now, I did spend quite a lot of time thinking about that one as well, and I'm happy with how it turned out, but I really did spend a lot more time structuring and polishing the assignment, and I'm rather more proud of that one).

I have Things to Say about what I wrote on -- I had forgotten what an awesome book it was -- and I shall on reveal, but on the principle of in for a penny, in for a pound, I have posted some recs here.


cahn: (Default)

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