I know, I know, I seem to have a new obsession every day these days - but there are so many interesting things in the world that I'll never have the time to fall in love with all of them, so I'm just sharing them as they come and go. Right now it's Western classical music and musical instruments that has been taking up the 90% of my brain I don't use according to all those Hollywood movies. Warning: long, rambly post ahead.
So when I was 10 and just moved to the big(ish) city from the country, one of the few things I'd truly found my place in was choir practice with recorder playing. My school was only able to offer extracurricular recorder and citera (a Hungarian folk instrument) teaching and choir, and I remember staying behind after classes with a friend, slowly picking out tunes on our school-issued recorders and frowning at sheet music. Our teacher was a very sweet old lady, and she ran one heck of a school choir - the height of my music-playing career was accompanying my choir with a recorder on an hour-long Christmas performance. And when I was, like, 12, I taught myself my favorite cartoon's theme by feeling out the notes one by one. Ah, good times... I was so proud the first time I played that theme song to my mom, folks.
I haven't actually picked up a recorder or any kind of instrument in years, but just a few days ago I found two things that reminded me of how much I love that feeling of being able to create music, so let me share both with you.
First of all, TwoSetViolin, a.k.a. the best thing since sliced bread, at least on Youtube. It's the channel of Brett and Eddy, two classical musicians and music nerds, who happen to be very funny and very good at roasting the heck out of bad violin playing in TV shows, violinists who garble up the melodies trying to set a world record, cheap low-quality violins on Amazon, violists (language warning), and in case you're wondering what classical music sounds like on a rubber chicken, wonder no more. They do have an unfortunate tendency to misuse the word 'triggered' (which, you know... not cool), but they make super funny and entertaining classical music content that's also very informative to those who have near-zero training like me. Warning for some brief fire imagery in some of these videos, but they really are worth a watch if you're looking for a good laugh to the dulcet tunes of bad violin playing.
Second: this fic. Oh, this fic. Now, I know Star Wars is an interesting fandom to be in and Kylux is a bit of a controversial ship, but this is one of my all-time fave pieces of fanfiction. Since it's an orchestra AU it has only the barest whiff of the movie's characterization, but I'd say it captures the essence of the characters while making them people we can root for. If that makes any sense. Also the author's obvious love for classical music is pouring from every word; I haven't seen descriptions of music this evocative and impressive in published fiction. The sequel is a bit less formidable (I'm one of those people who are tired to death of miscommunication and bottled-up feelings as a plot device), but the characters are still alive and believable, and the music writing is as good as ever. Heed the tags, ratings and warnings on both these fics, but I think you don't even have to be a SW fan to fall in love with them as long as "orchestra AU" is something you'd be into. I mean, I don't even like Star Wars, and I still stayed up until 2 am the other day to reread encore for, like, the fifth time.
More quality music content from the depths of Youtube: Paul Halley's gorgeous string quartet composition Winter, soundtrack to an equally beautiful short film titled The Maker, the Amadeus Electric Quartet's interesting take on Mozart and Falco, and a modern upgrade to Danse Macabre (one of my favorite classical pieces) by the very underrated Tempus Quartet (warning for fire imagery again).
Now, I do also have another ramble up my sleeve about my favorite classical pieces (Les Folies d'Espagne has a particular place of honor in my brain), but I shall keep that one to myself because whew did my mouth run away again. If you've made it this far reading this post, thank you for reading - and I'd love to hear about your musical memories and especially about your favorite classical music, because I'm always on the lookout to find new stuff to be bewitched by.
~Oculus, off to practice on the recorder