Sexy tales: eyesex, scandal, drama, and partial nudity guaranteed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bah humbug, said the tired and unwilling class piano teacher.

We now come to that most breathlessly anticipated time of year:  exam and jury week.

As a grad student and class piano teacher, I get the distinct privilege of being a student and a teacher.  On Monday, I took a symphonic lit final.  Tuesday through Thursday I am observing and grading class piano individual exams; more on that in a minute.  And Thursday ends with my own piano jury.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Grading piano exams is jury-like.  I sit with my irritatingly-Rachel-Ray-like supervisor and one of the other class piano teachers, and we watch, notate, and when the student's finished, briefly confer to decide on a grade for each portion.

Let me explain my irritation with my supervisor.  It is of a most peculiar variety, and important to accurately describe. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ravel's "Boléro": Sex? Why Yes, Thank You.

“Boléro” was written by Maurice Ravel in 1928.  Everyone’s heard the stories:  he wrote it to annoy his wife; he wrote it to annoy his cat; he wrote two melodies and decided he was done; etc.  Whether or not any of these are true, it is a fact that the piece is repetitive.  It’s essentially 17 runs of the same (-ish) melody or its answering countermelody.  It’s mainly in C, though near the end there’s a passage in E that kind of jumps out at you before returning to C for the finale.

 It’s also remarkably sexual.  I’m sure there have been many scholarly interpretations of this, but I haven’t bothered reading them, so fuck them all.  This is my show. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Tuxedo Life Philosophy

Tuxedos are like frosting.  The surface is deliciously tempting.  And the cake underneath is even better.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tux Bomb

The time has come to attack a weighty issue, one with gravitas and import.  One familiar to women everywhere.  It’s a universal situation, and one with which most of us can identify:  attractiveness which stems from tuxedos.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Marriage of Figaro, Volume III: It Finally Ends. And We Survive. Mostly.

Le Nozze di Figaro was a scathing reproof of the hypocritical, hedonistic nobility that ran Europe in Mozart’s day.  It was meant to shock the audience and make them uncomfortable, as it was written to entertain the very people it sought to criticize.  It was based, of course, on the revolutionary plays by Beaumarchais.  It’s a very political story, one that fired up the revolutionaries in the late 18th century.
In a small Midwestern town, this drama is somewhat lost on us today.  But The Nose Of Figaro is pretty epic.  The music is LURVE.  The overture is badass.  Happily, since I played for act 1, I was sitting onstage draped in cheap blue cotton and moldy lace when it started, I could watch the orchestra sex through the entire thing.  SO DAMN GOOD.

(The overture is famous.  Yes, you've heard it.  It goes noodle-oodle-oo, noodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle noodle-oodle-oo, noodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle, noodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oo (wagga-wagga-wagga) doooooo, doo doo-doo-doo-doo dooooooo, doo doo-doo-doo-doo BAHHHHHHHHHHHH, DAHHHHHHHHHHH, DAH-DAH, BAH DAHHHH DAH-DAH, BAH DAHHHH DAH-DAH, DAH, DAH, DAH, DAH.  And so on.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shirtless Opera Singers & Barihunks: I Support These.

Two places to check for musical mancandy.

Shirtless Opera Singers Exactly what it sounds like.  Pretty, non-shirt-wearing men to look at.  And at least one instance of (gasp!) nudity.

Barihunks Hot baritones.  Also includes their info and sometimes where/when you can see them be sexy perform.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Marriage of Figaro, Volume II: Oh God, It Continues

This entire opera was a study in just how poorly something could be run and still somehow work.  Dr. Jerome’s a wonderful singer, and I’m sure he’s had a wonderful career.  But dear God in holy heaven, the man is incompetent.  He almost never ran the music in rehearsal.  He dragged endlessly, inefficiently through staging rehearsals till I wanted to scream.  And I am Irish and German, so imagine how much patience is encoded into my genes to begin with.

In a more problematic sense, he let musical stuff slide.  Singers were making up recitative lines and he wasn’t catching it.  Rhythms were sloppy and he didn’t catch them.  I had to correct some of them myself.  And the biggest problem here is that he wasn’t the musical director.  Dr. Beauregard was.  Dr. Jerome was the stage director.  So letting Dr. J. run the music in his sloppy way was not a good segue into Dr. B, the paragon of precision and accuracy.  Not good bedfellows (obviously, because Dr. B and I are bedfellows.  Duh).

Big rehearsals together were fascinating.  Dr. Jerome acted like he was in charge sometimes…again, false; the Maestro is completely in charge in opera…and one night, it actually almost exploded.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Marriage of Figaro, Volume I: It Begins

Senior year, spring opera = Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.  Yum.  Mozart FTW.

I was already on deck as rehearsal accompanist (at our school, the orchestra plays the opera every other year, and this was an orchestra year).  I wheedled Dr. Jerome into letting me play harpsichord for it, completely disregarding the fact that I don’t actually play the harpsichord.  Minor detail.  He didn’t need to know.  And he wanted to put the harpsichord onstage, which ROCKED.  WIN.

The costume was the first hurdle.  Dr. Jerome had initially talked about putting me in a male costume for the show, like the girl who played Cherubino.  I didn’t want to dress like a boy (come on, it’s my first opera “role.”  I want boobs).  So I asked him if I could dress as a girl.  He said OK.  I went to be fitted for my costume, explained the whole thing to the costume woman (she is a scary little crone), who said OK, whatever, and measured me.  A few weeks later, when we went to try on costumes, I popped in the dressing room and she started to pull out kneebreeches and a vest.  I was all Fuck What?  And had to explain AGAIN that I was to be dressed as a girl.  She looked dumbfounded.   Apparently my talking to both her and the artistic director had had absolutely no effect.  How foolish of me to expect it would.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eric's Recital: Or, Why My Blood Pressure Went Up. A Lot.

I accompanied approximately twelve snillion recitals in undergrad.

I had agreed to play for Eric’s senior violin recital months in advance.  He had even been good enough to give me his music long ahead, too (extrememly unusual for him):  the Mendelssohn concerto in E minor.  Great piece, and one I had played before.  Fine and dandy.

Two weeks before his recital, as I sat in my office (i.e. the bench outside the girls’ bathroom, which I referred to as my office) one day, he slid onto the bench next to me.

I always know when Eric wants something.  He approaches quietly, hands in pockets and head a little sunk into his shoulders, and starts with “Heyyyyyy – ” and a shamed look on his face.  Only a little shamed, though, because he knows I will always say yes.  Damn it.

So he sat beside me and said, “Heyyyyy…” and I thought Oh, Shit.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An Open Letter To NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing)

Dear NATS,

The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of…the annual NATS singing competition.  Singers, teachers, and accompanists will roam hallways at music schools.  Teachers will cross fingers for their students.  Singers will mob the bottled water and wait an hour for a practice room to open up; groups of singers will commandeer a practice room as the territory of their particular college.  Accompanists will dash through hallways to get from room to room and swill caffeine.

NATS, my friends, I think you love singing.  I also think you are idiots. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tales From Orchestra Tour II: In Which There Is Partial Nudity

Free day in Denver!  Hot damn.  It was a beautiful sunny day and Denver is a wonderful city.  There was shopping, touring, walking, and general fun.  I went to the zoo with a bunch of others, and we walked around a bunch.  Dinner and drinks with Dr. B the other orchestra seniors.  Good times had by all.  The next morning we didn’t have to check out of our hotel till 11, so I got up early and went swimming/hot-tubbing, then took a walk downtown.  Very nice.  I was up at 6 and had the pool and hot tub all to myself. 

Before you roll your eyes, let me defend myself by saying that I woke up at 6 without an alarm because we had to be up very early every day on tour.   

And there may or may not have been the unspoken hope that Dr. Beauregard might be taking an early morning swim.  Just maybe.  I’m not saying I want to see him in less clothing (i.e., as little as possible).  I’m just not not saying it.  Don’t judge me, you bastards.  The man’s fucking hot.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tales From Orch Tour I: In Which There Is Immediate Fuck-Uppage

Senior year, orchestra tour, spring break!  We piled equipment, luggage, and finally ourselves onto the tour buses on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon, preparing to venture out into the Wild, Wild West (read:  Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas) on orchestra tour.  I was SO FUCKING PUMPED.  The year before, I had spent spring break in Hawaii, but I knew that this was going to be just as epic.  It was my first orchestra tour, and I was wicked excited.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who's Who: People in CPGTO

Here I present dramatis personae.  The main players in my musical world.  Though lots of this will be explained, here’s a lineup of the main characters thus far.  Any more will be introduced as needed.

Sadie:  me.  La célesteuse.  Yes, I made that term up.

Jessie:  principal cellist.  In my class.  Love her to pieces.  Super inappropriate.  Which is why she’s awesome.

Eric:  former concertmaster.  Concertmaster for three years, then left orchestra his last year to sing in choir.  Easy on the eyes.

Philippe:  the celesta.  Yes, I named the celesta.  We spent a lot of time together.  His full name is Philippe Louispensier-Fermat Clopin LeBombardier, but we all call him Philippe.

Dr. Beauregard:  our fearless maestro.  Cellist who became a conductor.  My conducting teacher and my idol.  When he says jump, we not only say How High, we say Thank You For Letting Us.  Sir.  He is also a Thing Of Beauty and a Joy Forever.

Dr. Adams:  the main choir director.

Dr. Jerome:  voice teacher, opera director.

(When we come to opera stories, I’ll introduce the singers as necessary.)

That’s all for now.

STAY TUNED...partial nudity did occur on orchestra tour, and it will be recounted.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Every Musician Should Know About Eyesex: Look at me. Look at me harder.

Music is its own language.  But there are multiple ways of communicating without speaking.  I will now discuss one of my all-time favorite methods of communication:  sex through the eyes.  I.e., eyesex.
After all, in any ensemble, it’s difficult to communicate during rehearsal.  And sometimes things happen which I would like to immediately discuss with someone (namely, Eric).  In choir, he sat across the room from me.  Solution:  ocular communication.  Which quickly spiraled into eyesex. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Accompanists are prostitutes. I can say that because I am one. Accompanist, I mean.

A pianist at a school with twelve billion singers can reasonably expect to accompany a fair amount.  A pianist at a school with twelve billion singers and approximately two other pianists can reasonably expect to vomit forth accompaniment like a geyser full of ipecac.  

Accompanists are the prostitutes of the music department.  We ply our trade in dark, private rooms.  We sell our skills for money or favors.  Our trade has multiple dimensions:  some accompanists, with advanced degrees or experience and technical command, are the high-class call girls of the musical world, working for a selective clientele and advertised almost exclusively by word of mouth (me).  Others are common, desperate streetwalkers, playing anything thrown in front of them for any money they can get (…also me, actually).  We charge in different ways:  sometimes, clients pay by the hour; sometimes, by the act.  We work very hard to stay with the client; we must always start and finish together.  Sometimes those exhausting, late-night private rehearsals are the most productive.  And anything that involves an audience will cost you a lot more.

One of my favorite times of year is jury time (sort of a “final exam” performance for those taking private lessons).  Every singer in the music building – roughly thirty-five scrillion, by my last estimate – needs an accompanist, every semester, music major or not.  I can make a killing.  My personal best is thirty juries in a span of three days.  I was saving up for spring break in Hawaii – and I succeeded, with money to spare – but UFF DA that was rough.  Even with the promise of sandy beaches, peacocks and kayaking among sea turtles (I’m not even shitting you, the turtles almost toppled my kayak), that was still a metric ass-ton of music and I almost choked on it.

Getting paid is, of course, the most comforting part of juries.  And even that is entertaining.  The little freshmen will inevitably walk up and hand me a white envelope full of cash.  Apparently I’m not only a hooker, but also a dealer.  GOD I LOVE MY JOB.

Anyway, please remember to respect, love, and affectionately hug your accompanist on a regular basis.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.  After all, it is the world’s oldest profession.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Operas In Plain English: Magic Flute, Act II

 Previously, in "The Magic Flute:"  Dainty Prince Tamino responded to the overture by swooning and letting the Andrews Sisters the Spice Girls die Walkyrie the Rhein Maidens the Three Ladies kill the giant snake.  He falls in love with Pamina, who rivals Juliet as the most pointless and useless heroine of all time.  There's a comical oaf named Papageno.  The Queen of the Night is badass but evil; King Sarastro is boring as shit but good.  Now, for the exciting conclusion.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Operas In Plain English: Magic Flute, Act I

During my sophomore year of college, the spring opera was Magic Flute. My roommate was one of the 3 Ladies, so I borrowed her score one day and wrote this.  I've seen Flute 4 times, and to this day, it still makes no sense. 

Die Zauberflöte
Music by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder
Synopsis by Sadie

The orchestra begins with a really fucking AWESOME overture in E-flat major. ROCK ME AMADEUS. There’s a nice fanfare section, during which the slower audience members have time to go sit down before the great bouncy little fugue-y part begins. This part is barrels of fun, very catchy, and gets everyone excited. The curtain goes up. Everything else goes downhill from there...

Friday, July 30, 2010


The celesta is a boxy little keyboard instrument, often used as auxiliary percussion in orchestral (and band) music.  Often, if no percussionist plays piano or if the part is too difficult, the conductor pulls in a pianist.  Hence, I was born.

Thanks to my view from the back row, I have learned lots - about orchestra, orchestral music, orchestra musicians, opera, and other things.  It's a unique perspective.

For the official nickname "Celesta Fiesta," I have good friend (and principal cellist) Jessie to thank.

Tune in for my charming commentary on orchestra and life.