Siege Diaries 4/18/2021


Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  Do I need to have an opinion about this?

Depends.  Is it important to my moral compass, the essential core of who I am?  Well, yes, I do need to have an opinion.  But sometimes, opinions get in the way of progress.  A great one is assigning blame.  Spending too much time with trying to figure out whose fault something is when you are still trying to deal with that something means that energy ends up being diverted from the solution.  But you can’t retroactively solve problems.  And assigning blame fixes precisely nothing.

Currently listening to a 1992 performance of the Shostakovich Symphony no. 7 by the Berlin Philharmonic with Maris Jansons conducting.  It’s rather interesting to see just how many fewer women the Berlin Phil had at that point–I know they lagged behind a lot of other orchestras on that particular point.  I haven’t seen a single one in the winds and only three or four in the strings. I keep thinking that 1992 was “not that long ago”, but no, that’s 29 years.   I’m also wondering whether the bassoonist is the same guy who now plays with them.  It very well could be. (Update:  I am really thinking it is!)  He has more hair, but he presumably would have.   Jansons is taking the first movement at a brisk pace, with a real lightness to the the initial renditions of the invasion theme.   More on this later on.

A much less exhausting day today.  A couple of hours on Discord listening to a couple of symphonies composed by a 16-year-old, quite talented guy.  I mean they’re rough, but there’s a lot there for a guy with no formal training and parts are genuinely good.  Then followed RPG session #1 (we opened an inn!) and RPG session #2 (we opened up a lot of holes in various rogues, an alchemical golem, some sort of cyber monster, and finally, the gnoll we’ve been chasing for most of this adventure.  Tune in next week to see how many slaves we managed to save.  

(Update:  That is definitely the same bassoonist.)

(Update:  The fast pace in the symphony continues.  Jansons is just ripping through the second movement, which gives it a kind of ferocity in the middle of the second movement I don’t think I’ve heard before.)

I literally did not go out at all this weekend.  No need to.  Had plenty of raspberries and other foods.  Tomorrow the car is getting its all-season tires put on;  Dave’s going to take care of that and hopefully stop at Zarky’s on the way back.  

Speaking of the 7th Symphony, I made a lot of progress on the first piece in the diptych this weekend.  In fact, I’m probably just another day’s work away from finishing it, because the background will be done in using the grey markers I’ve purchased.  I’m wondering about possibly ordering more silk thread.  I have no idea how the stay-at-home order will affect mail order from Gitta’s.

(Update:  Just a gorgeous, shimmery 3rd movement.  Those two inner movements so often get less love, but this performance is really bringing out the best in this particular movement.

Fourth movement: Continued the fast pace.  All was good until right at the very end, when he sped up the final bars so much that it resembled the famous Bernstein rendition of the 5th Symphony.  No.  You’re supposed to be falling down with exhaustion at this point. 

Otherwise, an outstanding performance, but to fumble it in the last bars like that just was a real letdown)

OK, let’s post this puppy and get off to bed.  Another week looms.