December 29, 2013

Classical Piece of the Week: Symphony 4, 4th mvmt

A while back I attended the Tchaikovsky Festival show by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and it was a mind-blowing experience. One of the pieces they performed was his Fourth Symphony, and the whole piece kept me at the edge of my seat. All four of the movements were extremely impressive, but the movement I want to showcase today is the fourth movement.

The movement is 9 minutes of epic, grandiose, magnificent music. It's everything that's good concentrated into the sound of the bold strings, blaring brass, balanced winds and the booming percussion. (All those b's were definitely unintentional, hehe). The music always builds and intensifies from its momentum, but just when you think it's at its peak, everything just diminishes again and a new, even more powerful momentum starts to develop. And then all this energy just releases at the end, giving you one of the most EPIC endings ever.

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! (With poem!)

 From: Decently Exposed Shop

Hey guys! I just wanted to wish a very Merry Christmas, and I hope your holidays are going wonderfully! Oh and here's a little Christmas poem for you guys! I was going for kind of a "Twas the Night Before Christmas" feel to it (you know, that kind of hearty/homey voice?). And I don't usually do rhyming stuff, but I think Christmas just screams "poems that rhyme"! Anyways, hope you guys enjoy it!

(Here's an awesome playlist of the whole Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky!)

(Title of poem still undecided… if you guys got any suggestions don't hesitate on leaving a comment below!)

Stockings without a stuffer,
a tree but no manger.
Lights wrapped around the stairs,
but none out in the winter air.

What an artificial Christmas,
they deem, tone vicious.
You do not mess around,
with a celebration so renown.

December 15, 2013

Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

by Libba Bray
published in 2003
a forgiving 2.5-3 stars
Goodreads Amazon Author's Website

"Because you don't notice the light without a bit of shadow. Everything has both dark and light. You have to play with it till you get it exactly right."

A Great and Terrible Beauty, is like what the title suggests, both great and terrible. But for me, it tilted towards terrible.

It's the Victorian Era, and the only place where Gemma Doyle wants to be is in England. Instead, Gemma's stuck under the sweltering heat of India, her dreams of going abroad quickly evaporating under the torrid sun. But one eery vision of the future later, tragedy strikes her family and Gemma is sent packing to the Spence Academy in London, under the worst possible circumstances. At Spence, Gemma's visions seem to occur more often, and Spence's gothic styled building intensifies the supernatural feel. Now, Gemma must question all she's every known. Or what she thought she had known.

I thought the book started off great. The characters had vivid, colorful personalities, and the setting felt very three-dimensional. Gemma had quite a distinct character, one that made her feel alive, vibrant. She always had a strong opinion, and her solid narration made me, the reader, feel involved in the story. 

Unfortunately, the story started to unravel as Gemma started to discover her supernatural talents. Suddenly, several new, important plot lines appeared, yet they held a weak presence throughout the book. The story started to feel drab, as the characters' emotions were never amplified; they just feel flat. And scenes containing very dramatic elements felt like smooth poetry, I mean for a supernatural book, everything just felt a little too natural


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