Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carl BloCH (we decided it must be said with an obnoxiously throaty noise by the way)

Today it snowed and rained like crazy, making the roads slippery and flooded and crazy--why on earth would you want to go outside today? But somehow we did... oh yeah, because Carolyn and Daniel got us tickets to that new Carl Bloch exhibit at the MOA. Admittedly I wasn't really in the mood, as much as I do love museums (not sarcastically--I did graduate in Humanities after all), but it was well worth the trip. For one, it's pretty much amazing that they were able to aquire all that they have there--getting paintings from other museums and collectors is one thing, but getting them straight off of church altarpieces is quite another. I still can't believe they found a way to pull it all off....

Anyway, there's not much I can say--it's one of those things you just have to witness for yourself--but it was wonderful for sure. It's not just a collection of neat religious paintings like I feared; Mr. Bloch was one seriously in-tune individual, and if you take the time to really experience his work, it can be life-changing. His paintings truly bear witness to the individual relationship of man, the world, nature, humanity, and spirituality, basically all my favorite things you know. ;) Yes, he has technical skill, but I think his true talent is the feeling he brings to his work. It's just touching, there's not much that you can say to explain the experience. Just go experience it yourself--it doesn't take long, and it's well worth the trip. Yes, art is absolutely awesome.
"God helps me; that's what I think, and then I'm calm."

What: Carl Bloch: The Master's Hand

Where: BYU Museum of Art

When: Nov. 12-Mar 7, 2011; extended hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Heard the Bells

Today I attended my parents' ward for church (my ward has disbanded until next year), which was actually pretty fun. It's been nearly four years since we've all been together like that--P.S. Carolyn is here!--so it was neat. We sang one of my favorites, I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY, and Stephanie Nielson shared her thoughts about it (yes Stephanie is in our ward), which was really unique, because Stephanie has gone through a similar tragedy, except that she is still here to share her love and testimony with all of us.

Although I haven't always been the biggest fan of the hymn itself (like Gladys Knight I struggle with LDS hymns at times), I have always absolutely LOVED the words--Longfellow is a freakin' genius in my opinion--and I love any words accompanied by a story, especially the very sad stories that some how end on a peaceful note.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow rocks because he was a family man and loved his wife, Fanny, more than anything in the world. One day when Fanny was putting locks of her children's into an envelope (they did that back in the Romantic days), she tried to seal the envelope with hot wax and somehow her dress caught on fire. Longfellow threw a rug over her and tried to save her, but she was too badly burned and died the next morning. Longfellow was also burned, so badly that he could not even attend her funeral. Losing Fanny was heartbreaking, as Longfellow described that his marriage to her was nearly perfect and after her death he was "inwardly bleeding to death." (I'm horrible, but how beautiful is that! I want a love like that, just sayin'). That Christmas Longfellow's journal read: "A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me."

Not long after losing Fanny, Longfellow's oldest son, Charles, ran away to join the Union during the Civil War; as if Longfellow wasn't worried enough--his son having left without his blessing--he soon received word that Charles had been fatally wounded. Basically, his life sucked at this point, but instead of cursing God or becoming angry and bitter, Longfellow simply expressed his grief through his beautiful words: "God is not dead nor doth he sleep. The wrong shall fail the right prevail--with peace on earth good will to men."

This is one of my favorite versions of this lovely song. Merry Christmas. <3

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

one last breath

Yeah, I should be studying, but you know what? I have been sitting in this chair for Heaven knows how long... hours, days, dare say even weeks. This paper is killing me, slowly but surely. Fortunately death is only a day or so away, so not all is lost completely. I would gladly take on all of your seven testing center finals you are all complaining about--trust me, they are a million times easier, or at least kill less brain cells. Oh well, what can you do; I chose this route, so I will put up with the ulcers that come with it, and in the end I am actually rather proud of myself--if I ever finish. Anyway, yes, I have been sitting at my desk for hours on end for the past two or three weeks working on this theology research project; the only breaks I get are to go to the gym and shower. It's quite the life, let me tell ya.

However, last night I decided to take a few hours off and attend Christian's band concert at Timpview--now that was definitely worth the effort. Their bands are amazing for sure, but this one piece really stuck out to me; just before it started, Sean turned to me to inform me that it was at least 15 minutes long. Great, that's a good 15 minute nap--but there was no napping here, in fact, this piece was so beautiful I ended up crying instead--not out of sadness or happiness, but out of the sure beauty and power that accompanied the notes. I loved it. I don't have a recording, but if you Google it you can listen to it and see how wonderful it is: It's called "Russian Christmas Music," by Alfred Reed, 1944. Reed was commissioned to write a piece of "Russian music" for a concert in Denver to improve Soviet-American relations through premieres of Soviet and American works. Prokofiev's March, Op. 99 was supposed to be played, but they discovered that it had already been performed in the United States just a few weeks earlier. Thus, Reed was commissioned to write a new piece--his first composition for band--with only sixteen days before the concert. Of course, he did it, and in only eleven days--they had four days to learn it. Amazing. And he was only 23 years old. Yup, pretty awesome.

If I don't make it to Christmas next week, a very Merry Christmas now with some wonderful music. <3

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Feeling Chills

Kind of cool; according to this article, people who feel chills in response to music are more likely to be open to new experiences. In this study, people high in openness = creative, curious about many things, have active imaginations and like to play with ideas, much more frequently feel chills in response to music. Go figure--that would explain why I am seriously so cold all the time. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

at the moment

"Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting."
~John Russell

Yup, that pretty much sums up my current life right there. But at least it's not boring--well, it could be worse. Just a few more weeks...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Being Scottish Rocks

AC/DC just made my day--bagpipes and hard rock. I am especially loving the duet between the bagpipes and the electric guitar half-way through the song. Yeah. Awesome.