Listening to: Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rustica – Philharmonica Orchestra
Good morning all! *Monday morning groans all-around*
How were your weekends? Did you go out? Stay in?
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of cultural fun squeezed into mine, and these were my impressions. It started with a visit to the V&A’s late Lolli-Pop exhibition on Friday. The sheer amount of Loli-Goth fans and attendees was inspiring to see, not simply because several groups had the courage to wear this eye-popping utterly decked-out style, but also because it’s always lovely to see a cultural get-together at odds with the norm, and a place where people can celebrate something they enjoy. There were many exciting workshops going on simultaneously, and, although the logistics could have been planned better since I honestly didn’t know where anything was nor which one to go to first, it was a fun-filled pleasant evening, accompanied with beautiful fairy-tale-esque Loli-Goths flitting around.
My friend and I wandered around the DJ spot, Loli-Goth fashion display, and then spent the rest of our time doodling in the Studio room where the Kawaii Illustration Workshop took place. We were taught step-by-step on how to draw Chibi characters (aka super-deformed illustrations) to the high amusement of others who had never attempted drawing Anime The emphatic dominance of our teacher served to make clear what rules and regulations to abide by in Chibi drawing, though I found myself often distracted by the oxymoronic juxtaposition of her piercing presence together with her pretty Loli-Gothic clothes. That aside, she had a very helpful and considerate demeanor and imparted great advice regarding proportions, relevant not only to Chibi characters but also to sketching human bodies in general. For example, a drawing of an adult human body would be about 7-8 heads long, while a Chibi’s body length is akin to child-like proportions, so around 3-4 heads (hence the cuteness factor). You can find more pictures and details about the event’s workships at lovelycomplex’s entertaining blog post: Lolli-Pop! Impressions.
Overall I was glad I went and hopefully the V&A will continue holding these kinds of sub-cultural nights. For now though, the V&A Sanctuary is next on my agenda – this event is right up my alley, as you get to try your hand at a multitude of gripping creative mediums!
Saturday was my lazy day, meaning pyjamas and lots-of-sitcom-watching , so let’s skip ahead shall we?
On Sunday I headed over to The Royal Albert Hall and enjoyed BBC Prom 69. The key pieces played by Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra were Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum (30mins) and Mahler’s Symphony no.6 in A Minor (85mins).
The first piece is in “an imposing and vibrant memorial to the dead of two world wars, a compositional trailblazer in its own right”. Given that I hadn’t listened to it beforehand I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, if I had known it were dedicated to the dead of WWI and II, I wouldn’t have found myself initially stifling my laughter as the increasingly intimidating music jaggedly oscillated between silent pauses and roars reminiscent of a horror movie and completely at odds with my expectations. Once the silly giggling subdued though, I found myself greatly appreciating its unique quality, and the ways in which a composer could organise these sporadic bursts of sounds into a mysterious and difficult piece pertaining to the Apocalypse. It was overwhelmingly powerful and entrancing. It made me muse a lot on what one considers disturbing, what it means to be in the Now as opposed to remembering painful past memories, and what the future has in store. Et exspecto is a unique piece that contains maxed out percussions, sharp winds and, most noticeably, no strings. As Classical Iconoclast beautifully describes in his post, it‘s “so universal he wanted it performed in the Alps,. So if the Christian form of this piece bothers you, remember that for Messaien, God resided in Nature, and mountains were Nature’s cathedrals.” It’s severity however can be off-putting to newcomers, so it may not suit everyone’s tastes. Nonetheless I recommend listening to it – Leipzig’s rendition was monumental.
The second piece, Mahler’s Symphony no.6 was the longest and in my opinion the most beautiful of both pieces; it paired wonderfully with Messiaen’s Et exspecto as a calming respite to the impressive storm that came before. I feel it would be superfluous to comment too much on it as this piece is to be ‘felt’ more than anything else. Nonetheless, I will say this: it had a flowing Idyllic quality to it that was so gorgeous to listen to that it lulled me into a peaceful and spiritual trance. Each section had a different tone of ‘voice’ but was seamlessly melded into a whole distinctly punctuated with cataclysmic blows to create a sublime work.
You can listen to these pieces on BBC player and hear the magic of these musical works of art yourself.
Til’ next time readers!
How did you spend your weekends? Have you been to any events lately? What do you think of Loli-Goth fashion? Do you enjoy Classical music, Messiaen, or Mahler? Comments below!