April 26, 2005

Brahms is back with his choral works, surely some of the most beautiful music ever composed for choir a cappella. Tomorrow in our choral conducting class, it's my turn to present choral music I'm particularly interested in, so I'm listening to the Chamber Choir of Europe's excellent recording (Brahms' complete a cappella on eight discs, purchased for 18 euros in Bamberg, Germany) for inspiration.
Dominante had a rehearsal of over five hours today with German Bach-guru Helmut Rilling, who came straight from the airport. I was two hours late because of work at Cantores Minores, and was practically rushed to the piano to rescue Seppo Murto, who was having a hard time sight-reading Bach without his reading glasses, which were at home. Rilling certainly knows his Bach, and he conducted by heart most of the time, even referring to bar numbers without looking at his score. The rehearsal was deliciously spiced with his stories and theories about the music. For example, in the meditative "Et in carnatus est" all the other voices descend in b minor one octave with the text, while the basses arrive at a staggering b sharp, with the sharp sign - the cross - infront of the note giving a haunting reminder of what Christ's incarnation led to. The violins' recurring theme also carries the cross motive (bind the first and fourth as well as the second and third notes with dashes and you get a cross as if lying on the ground).
The concert is on Thursday and once again I am very disappointed we won't be doing it again in Helsinki. Working with Rilling was pleasant, although he was constantly complaining that I was hurrying, but then he kept smiling at me and saying I was doing a good job. One could also see he was very pleased with the choir.
Today, I also finally learned how to apply cross-staff notation with Finale (the notation program I use) - something very useful especially when writing down music for the keyboard or, especially, for the harp.
Tough week ahead - and today is only Monday! Tomorrow I will have to wake up earlier than usual and go to Teatterikorkeakoulu to bring the harp back home. Then it's off to school, with lessons lasting until seven o'clock. On Wednesday Dominante is rehearsing in Lahti, on Thursday is the concert, and on Friday I'm off to Kirkkonummi to play in their orchestra. But at least the sun is shining and there are about three weeks left of school. Which reminds me I should probably plan my presentation for tomorrow!

April 22, 2005

Helsinki has been experiencing a strong bout of "takatalvi" (a uniquely Finnish word describing strong snowfall when least expected - probably translates into something like "Finnish spring") during the past two days. Hopefully we'll have better weather tomorrow. On the other hand, what does it really matter?
While sorting out all the documents I brought back with me from England (parish registers, census registers, etc etc), I have started to tip some of the names into family search websites, with amazing results. I found out that one of my great-great-grandfather's cousins emigrated to Montréal, where we still have relatives living. Another branch of the family moved to Salt Lake City, which, by the way, has the largest family research library of the world, with millions of parish registers etc from around the world. I supposed these people are not really worth contacting since the only thing we have in common are our great-great-great-great-grandparents....
Today was a pretty relaxed day. Jarno came to Ruoholahti for lunch (I had the pork chops, he ate onion soup) after which we paid a visit to the newly-renovated Suomalainen Kirjakauppa as well as Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, where we drooled over books. By the way, Akateeminen seems to be specialising in Arab literature this week, so I highly recommend everyone to go and pick up a copy of the newest Arabic erotic literature (if this is a bit too extreme for you, good translations of the Koran are also available) or anything else they are selling. There was even a book of Syrian fairy tales (sadly, the cover looked so gloomy I don't suppose it would really appeal to children).
"The Woman in White" is already entering its very last chapters. This Gothic thriller set in grand English mansions is bound to have you turning the pages faster than you can say "A cup of tea before my afternoon stroll". Also, I have now started reading the last section of the Molvanian guidebook. One of the biggest laughs I had in the past days was caused by the charming city of Dzrebo (situated on the Eastern Steppes - Stjppka Orjentlka), which is divided into three zones: Sektor 1, Sektor 2 and Zibruzzka ("The Minefield").
Enough for today. Good night!
Piece of the day: The Beatles- "Michelle" preferably performed by the Kings' Singers - a haunting arrangement of the classic.

April 20, 2005

Devilish triangle

What with all the family history research one can now do just by surfing on the internet, my evening has already stretched out longer than I intended it to. That is why this entry will probably be short.
Today started with scrubbing the toilet as well as the bathroom sink, something I always have considered as entertaining as it is therapeutic. School was pretty calm today, with the exception of a sudden attack of nausea probably induced by the huge amount of chili sauce I added to my lunch to make it taste of something. In the end, the lunch got to stay in my stomach and nobody was harmed. When the light drizzle of snow ended at around seven, Mikko and I ran around Töölönlahti.
An extraordinary thing happened today - I was once again asked to perform with the Kirkkonummi chamber orchestra in two weeks. They are having a concert for vappu and need a pianist for some of the pieces. I could barely contain myself when I was asked to also help out with the percussion section - whether I could maybe be responsible for the triangle as well? I hesitated at first, imagining the stress a third instrument would create, but, in the end, promised to try it out in tomorrow's rehearsal. Talk about fast learning!

April 19, 2005

The musical genius of M. White

Today started with a brisk walk to school after I realised I had forgotten my Travel Card in Kanneljärvi. Fortunately, a member of the choir brought it back with her and gave it to me today. In Helsinki, taking the tram is possible without showing your ticket, but on buses there's no such chance. Accompanied by Elgar's violin concerto and a bright sky, I made the way from home to Bulevardi in 20 minutes, arriving just in time for the first lesson.
The day also ended with a brisk walk from the bus station through the gloomy and downright spooky construction site of Kamppi to the tram stop. This happened considerably late (just before 10pm) because of Dominante's rehearsal, after which some of us went to a pizzeria. I got hungry and decided to come home to enjoy my authentic sandwiches, which are always to be recognised by their thrilling vegetables (Finnish cucumber and, sometimes, tomatoes - this week from Holland) and perfectly shaped cheese slices. Dinner is still going on with Fazer's hazelnut chocolate.
While accompanying Dominante today at the rehearsal I started thinking how I've never seen a book written on accompanying choir rehearsals on the piano. So I started thinking of things I would put in such a book, if I were ever to write one. Here are some tips!
1. Remember you are there to make the work of the conductor easier and to help the singers get acquainted with the music they'll be hearing when the orchestra steps in - this means that a choir rehearsal is no place to exhibit your spectacular pianism. No matter how many mistakes you make, the singers - and especially the conductor, will appreciate your work very much!
2. Get to know the music. Listen to recordings and find patterns in the accompaniment, which will help you when sparks fly during the rehearsal and you find yourself too absorbed by everything else to concentrate on all the notes in the music.
3. Always bear in mind that the vocal scores are the ones which have been done after the orchestral scores. This means that all the notes played by the whole orchestra have been crammed into the piano part, which creates the impossible task of one pianist trying to produce the sounds played by at least 30 players. You are NOT required to play everything written - a very useful policy ("Die Kunst des Weglassens" according to Professor Hauschild - the art of leaving out), especially in Bach's scores, where the pianist often feels that having one more hand would be that much more helpful for playing the basses as well.
4. Keeping in time is essential. Remember you are not there to play for yourself - you are forced to follow the conductor just as much as the singers. Hitting the right keys is not as important as keeping up the rhythm. If you keeps stumbling on those tricky leaps in the left hand, the conductor will probably curse the day he asked you to "help out" at the rehearsals.
5. When the conductor gives orders on dynamics or phrasing, he is also adressing you. No matter how hard the singers try to create an effective pianissimo, their efforts will be ruined by your banging. Pay special attention to themes which repeat themselves - the conductor doesn't always easily distinguish between the sounds he is hearing, and if you make a phrasing differently from the rest, he might easily think it was one of the singers.
6. Do not stress about turning the page. The music will not stop even if you have to take five seconds to turn the page in peace.
7. Accompanying a large-scale vocal work is very tiring, so try to use your energy effectively. Instead of spending all of it on doing your best during the choral passages, try to concentrate on the parts where the choir gets to breathe and the orchestra has its big moments. However, try not to stress about these, since they are usually the parts where the pianist has a tendency to speed things up. If you are already worn out after the first ten minutes, try just playing along with the basses for a while - it is highly unlikely the conductor will stop the whole choir to ask for the meaning of this.
8. Don't doze off for ONE INSTANT. If the conductor says bar 15, you are usually the first person relied on to pay attention and have your hands ready on the keys and your nose in the right page before he waves his hands.
9. If the choir is about to rehearse, say, "Cum sancto spiritu" from the B minor mass, turn to the page before the piece starts, because, probably, the conductor will ask you to play the last measures from the previous piece so the choir gets used to hearing the same music seconds before they are supposed to jump into the new key.

Well, I certainly got excited about that!!
Piece of the day: Margaret White: Pedal study. A charming little piece for the harp: 37 bars of music involving no less than 55 pedal movements. I am preparing this for my next lesson. All seven pedals are used, and four or even five changes during one measure are not uncommon. The "melody" consists of chords (either broken or played secco) ascending very slowly in a highly alarming chromatic pattern. This means the piece is not very likely to be heard in concert halls.

April 18, 2005


After fears of an exhausting and time-consuming weekend, these two days have proven themselves to be anything but that!
Early on Saturday morning, Dominante headed towards Kanneljärven Opisto, some 5 kilometres from Lohja's city centre (only 45 minutes driving from Helsinki due to summer speed restrictions, which have now finally replaced the winter-time signs!). Yesterday was spent rehearsing Bach, Bach and more Bach. All breaks were spent eating (lunch, afternoon tea - coffee in Finland, supper and a late-night dinner). At least for me, it was a nice reminder of the true essence of life at Finnish summer camps - you've hardly finished breakfast when lunch is served! And when you've gotten through that, it's time for pastries which are followed by a full-fledged meal soon afterwards.
Surely almost all of the B minor mass is now safe in the heads of every singer, after going through the particularly tricky parts (like Et Resurrexit - a real tongue-twister especially for the basses, and Cum Sancto Spiritu, which has the sopranos gasping for breath between their non-stop prestissimo figures) again, again and again. I am sure the concert will be a big success and very memorable to the public and performers alike. It's such a pity the only performance will be in Lahti. As a matter of fact, I was very surprised to see that the last time I sang the B minor mass was in 1995 with Cantores Minores, as a soprano (my score is full of ridiculous jokes I have scribbled on the pages to keep me amused during the concert, as well as completely misspelled German phrases said by our conductor). In a couple of days, the score will have been mine for exactly 10 years.
Today (Sunday) was such a warm day we abandoned the stuffy hall where we were rehearsing and brought our music outside. It was downright HOT, and people made their first appearances in shorts and sun-glasses.
A perfect weekend!
In the evening, Carlos and me carried my brand-new microwave oven home.
Piece of the day: "Schlage doch bald, sel'ge Stunde" from Bach's Cantata "Christus, der ist mein Leben" BWV95. A tenor aria portraying death in a naive, friendly way. The pizzicato strings accompany the melody, resembling the ticking of the clock, while two oboes imitate each other in a symbol of time standing still when one would want it to go faster. Experts believe Bach's intention with this almost chirpy piece was to explain to his small children that the death of their baby sister was something which was meant to be. Absolute genius.
Book of the day: Wilkie Collins- Woman in white. I have now read half of this book, which was published in 1860 and represents the Victorian genre of "sensational fiction". It is a realy page-turner, set in great country houses and with a new secret lurking behind every page.

April 15, 2005

The perfect holiday and the perfect Thursday

Ah, what a nice warm spring day! Perfect for long walks in the park or jogging sessions around Töölönlahti. Naturally, I spent most of it indoors.
I just arrived home from a performance of Kauniiden Lasten Saari at the university for theatre. While the actors delighted the audience with their energy and talent, I must say I didn't do my very best today. I constantly kept adjusting my chair up and down, always feeling I was either too high to reach the low strings or getting crushed with the weight of it. Playing the right chords was sometimes tricky as well, especially at the parts when I was the only one playing. Well, I suppose this just means it will all go much better tomorrow. In case anyone is interested, here is a list of things I have to always take with me when I'm performing with the harp:
1. Tuning meter and tuning key. For tuning before the performance and a quick check-up during the intermission.
2. Shoes which are sturdy, but, however, with thin soles and as narrow as possible - for managing the seven pedals.
3. All 47 spare strings - in case I arrive to find a string has snapped, or also in case one of the strings snaps during the performance itself - this usually happens during quiet and sensitive pieces.
4. Manicure kit. For those nasty cuticles and for making nails as short as possible to avoid buzzing sounds from the harp. ¨
In the morning, I attended the main rehearsal of Puccini's Turandot at the opera with some friends from school. Often, we get to visit the rehearsals for free. It was nice to see the great opera, but somewhat tiring to do that in the middle of the day. After that, I lazed around in Museokatu, before heading to the performance.
Yesterday, we had a small birthday party for me at Annika's and Sanna's place. Therefore, I have to add some things to my gift list:
From Annika: Two Annika-Design 2005 candles inside a cracked coconut and the music to a piece by Clare Grundman called "Nocturne for Harp and Wind Ensemble". Naturally, I have to wait a few years before I can play it.
From Pauli and Iina (his girlfriend): A JetLag travel guide to Molvania - a land untouched by modern dentistry. This is absolutely the most hilarious book I have read in a long time and, yesterday, we were all nearly rolling on the floor from laughter, each taking a turn to read a passage from just about any page. The writers have managed to create the imaginary state of Molvania, where public hangings are considered entertainment, text messaging involves Morse code, the language has an extra gender for cheeses, cabbage is a regular ingredient of milkshakes, pop star Olja combines hot latin sounds with cold war rhetoric, and one of the most useful phrases you can use is Kyunkasko sbazko byusba? (Where is the toilet paper?) Not in a long time have I laughed out loud as much as today, when I spent my trips on the tram reading the guide. You have to admit there is a hint of making fun of Eastern European countries, but on the other hand, imagination this witty and hilarious just has to be admired. I urge everyone to read this book, or others in the JetLag travel guide series, which include "Let's go Bongoswana" (with extensive coverage on the Ebola Jungle) and "Surviving Moustaschistan" (for whetting the appetite of the most heavily-vaccinated traveler).
I also got an email from my cousin Mirela in Ecuador.
For downloading a highlight from my harp exam, which was on Monday, visit Martin's blog at www.die-richters.info/martin/blog. At the end of his April 13th entry, there is a link to the piece called "Grave".
Ah, the weekend is almost here. However, I will be spending it with Dominante near Lohja for an intensive rehearsal weekend, which literally could be called "From Bach to Beatles", since we'll use Saturday for rehearsing the B minor mass, and Sunday for the popular music concert in May.
Piece of the day: Elgar's violin concerto. Preferably performed by Hilary Hahn and the London Symphony Orchestra. A perfect model of a violin concerto: Sweeping, passionate, epic and from another world. Including a second movement to die for.
Book of the day: Obviously, the travel guide to MOLVANIA. Especially worth mentioning are the sections on the national sport (the game of PLUTTO, which involves spectators crying Bzoukal! Bzoukal! ("slash his throat") and the country's flora and fauna (not to miss is the thorny cactus FZIBDAT, traditionally thrown at Molvanian brides and often used in cooking due to its bitter taste).

April 13, 2005

Well, I guess it was just too good to last. Today started off completely fine, but then evolved into an exhausting day filled with some serious moodiness on my part. On the other hand, tomorrow and Thursday are going to be pretty relaxed, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. And on Thursday we're having a performance of Kauniiden Lasten Saari, and I'm already excited about it. On Friday we have a performance as well, and my whole fan club will be there: Martin, Annika, Jarno's entire family with Katsi, and of course my harp teacher.
To mark this day of woe, I decided to compile a list of things which I can't stand.
1. Anything out of Styrofoam. ESPECIALLY styrofoam cups, plates, or SPOONS. I usually can't eat out of styrofoam dishes without still shuddering from it on the next day. Dea once gave me a ball made out of styrofoam for Christmas just to annoy me.
2. "Hellas" pianos. They sound and feel like rubbish, and the pedal always breaks down. I've managed to break one pedal of a Hellas piano at our school, and I saw another one which had suffered the same fate.
3. Children at the underground station pretending to throw themselves on the tracks when one can hear that spine-chilling sound of the train approaching. (Described as "The sound of people fighting with swords" in Mark Haddon's book "The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time".
4. People coughing their way through a concert. This is absolutely infuriating for me. Maybe the time it irritated me most was when I saw Madame Butterfly. There's a wonderful orchestral intermezzo, but the audience seemed to find it completely normal to just cough their way through it until the singing started again.
5. Being in a hurry or being late.
The list could go on, but now I'm so tired I'll have to continue it another time. Good night!

April 12, 2005

My birthday

Okay, so anyone not interested in reading about a day of joy, family, friends and fun would do well to just leave this site now and go to mope somewhere else!
First, some lists.
Here are the things I got, and from whome.
A microwave oven (!!!!!) from Mummy and Daddy.
Nivea face moisturiser from Dea.
A freaky red nose Daddy got for free from Burger King in Hamburg (hahahaha, I'm not sure I got that one quite right)
Hilary Hahn playing Elgar's violin concerto and Vaughan Williams' serenade. From Mummy/Daddy.
Chopin nocturnes & preludes (cd). From Daddy.
A book by Noah Gordon called "The Physician" from Martin.
Empty balloons to blow up from Sari.
A card from Katariina.
The newest recording of Bach Cantatas with the Monteverdi Choir and Gardiner conducting. From me, naturally. Playing in the background
That's what I got yesterday and today, but I'm still expecting some presents tomorrow and after tomorrow. Then, a list of phone calls and text messages, which were surprisingly many!!
Text messages from:
Auntie Diala (Two messages)
Nana (two messages)
Karoliina (who, by the way, also has her birthday today).
Annika (Martin's little sister)
Timo (my former classmate!! big surprise!!!!!)
Valeria (my piano teacher).
Phone calls:
Heikki (my godfather) 2 phone calls.
Robby from Ecuador.
Then, some emails from:
Omi and
Very nice!! Thank you everybody!!!
Anyway, my day started at Museokatu, where I spent last night. I didn't sleep very well and headed to Tapiola in the morning. There, I had my harp exam. The jury consisted of Timo Veijola, the principal of EMO (Espoon Musiikkiopisto), Reija Bister, the harpist of RSO (Radion Sinfoniaorkesteri), and Pauliina Kallio, the harpist of Lohjan Kaupunginorkesteri. For a detailed account (and for those who can read German),visit Martin's blog for a charming summary of the event. Martin himself came to listen, too, which was very nice, and he even recorded the exam, so you'd better reserve your copy now to avoid disappointment.
I got the highest mark possible from the exam. Great! After that, I met Pauli down town, and we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. He paid for it, and said it's part of my present. I'll find out what the other part is on Wednesday. Then, I went to my school in Ruoholahti and met friends there. I'm afraid at this point I really MUST make a list of people I seriously expected to hear from on my birthday, but who didn't give one little sign of life. Here they are. But please don't take this list seriously, I love you people all, too, and understand that sometimes you just forget birthdays. Don't worry. HOWEVER. Here they are.
Pasi (who actually sent me a text message but about something completely different)
Antti (with whom I am chatting right now but who's still not saying a thing)
Anyway. After visiting Ruoholahti, I taught in CM and then went to the rehearsal of Dominante. Oh yes, and they all sang to me for my birthday. That was very nice!
In the evening, I still went to Museokatu to pick up my toothbrush and toothpaste, which I had forgotten there.
My harp teacher told me today that she thinks that if I would want to become a harpist, I could do it, and she asked me not to close out that option completely, and that I'm not too old to start, because she herself started when she was 22. I was very very happy when she told me that, because I've always felt ridiculous, imagining myself playing some of the greatest harp music ever composed like Grandjany's Rhapsodie or Saint-Saens's Fantaisie, but she told me I will be able to do it some day.
In a way, this doesn't change my attitude to the harp - I take the hobby seriously, but realise it shouldn't in any way take up time from my main studies at school. Naturally it can't take the place of the piano or other things in my life, but it certainly makes my musical life so much more exciting!!! But, in a way, what my teacher told me DOES change my attitude completely, because now I know that my teacher is very happy with me and that's one of the nicest things to feel. Also, I feel like wanting to progress faster and faster, and I keep wondering how far I will be in one year, or five, or twenty!
All in all, I must say that I am very happy with what is going on right now. Monday is not a bad day to have a birthday, because if the rest of the week goes as well as today, it'll be fabulous! Not to mention the rest of the year.

April 09, 2005

Hypnotic Harpistry

This entry was written already on Thursday night, but as the blog website was down, I wasn't able to publish it until now (Friday night). Enjoy!

I could not BELIEVE it when I read Martin's latest entry in his blog. It ends with his choice for the SONG OF THE DAY!!! When I accused him of stealing ideas from my blog, he kindly pointed to the fact that he first wrote about his song of the day before I even started keeping a weblog. Oh well, think before you open your mouth is all I can say to that.
Today was my harp performance in EMO. Because of reasons too complicated to write here, the actual exam will take place next Monday. However, all of my teacher's harp students played today, and there were quite many people. It was really a raving success! The Polar Harp Journal praised the "Highly skilled young harpists determined to take over the international harp stage" while the Carlos Juris Gazette described the playing as "Simply angelical".
No, seriously, it went okay and I would have finally introduced Mummy to my harp teacher if she hadn't started a presentation about the need for a new harp for EMO (only the hand-outs with statistics of the financial situation of EMO and the growing numbers of harp students were missing) which surely lasted until we were back in Helsinki.
Now for a nice weekend, then! Tomorrow will be quite relaxed - first, a rehearsal of Prokofjeff's Cello Sonata with Katariina, then my harp (I always call it my harp, although of course I don't own it) will be transported to Teatterikorkeakoulu (I just hope everything goes fine - first, the box has to be brought from the conservatory, and I don't even know where it's usually kept, to begin with). Anyway, I can expect to easily spend almost two hours with that, and then in the evening we might have an emergency rehearsal, depending on how today's rehearsal went (where Helen, the other harpist played) and I'm now waiting anxiously for a text message which will say tomorrow evening is free - - oh, the text message just came. Turns out we will rehearse tomorrow. So much for a relaxing Friday evening. I'll spend it counting empty measures and sliding my fingers over the strings now and then.
Sometimes I think how much time I would have saved if I'd just dropped the idea of playing the harp when it struck me (no pun intended) - but then again, it's better not to think about that. What's the point? I mean, I never ask myself how much time I would have saved if I'd just quit everything I'm doing right now.
Piece of the day: Edvard Grieg: Remembrances for Piano Solo. Totally suffering from Harp OD? Then this is just what you need to forget the tormenting world of plucking strings and plunge into the world of hammers on strings. Someone once said the grand piano is the instrument, where the harp has gone to sleep....

April 06, 2005

Just now, when I was walking back home (an hour ago, just before 10) I saw a HAMSTER running on the street. I wonder whether someone lost him or whether it was actually a mouse of some kind. It was scurrying about and I followed it until it passed under a gate. Who knows where it came from or what will now happen to it.
Today, The Helsinki Transport System could have certainly used our family for filming their newest commercial in the lines of "Helsinki Transport - Bringing people together every day of the week". On my way to Espoo in Ruoholahti, I caught the same bus Daddy was on. Then, later, I met Dea on the tram and we were both going to the same block in Hakaniemi. She was on her way to theatre and I was on my way to the rehearsal of Kauniiden Lasten Saari, which lasted until past nine. Tomorrow I won't have to spend so much time there, because Helen, the other harpist, is going to play. I was really proud today, because I went there half an hour in advance and had enough time to tune in peace, etc.
I really have to put the computer off now, because I still have some homework and I don't want to stay up late.
Piece of the day: Real Group - Spring is coming. For obvious reasons!!!

April 05, 2005

Birthday list

My birthday is in exactly a week, so I decided to start of today's entry with a comprehensive birthday present wish list. I thought this would leave my dear friends and family enough time to make proper arrangements for shipment etc. Please note that these are just suggestions, and of course I'm not expecting to get EVERYTHING.

1. A Steinway grand concert piano. Preferably one of the 150th anniversary series, but the one out of marble is a bit over-the-top even for my taste. www.steinway.com
2. The Sony DSC-P200 Digital camera, but if it's too expensive, you can leave out the accessory kit. www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007NLH84/ref=br_lf_ce_0/026-6031640-7116423
3. A one-month trip to the South Pacific Ocean, preferably including overseas transport from island to island and five-star accommodation. www.ebookers.com
4. All of Bach's music on cd. (you might find www.jsbach.org helpful)
5. A grand concert harp. Options include Salvi's Aurora-model (in ebony) or the dazzlingly daring Scolpita-model - www.salviharps.it and Venus' "Penti" www.venusharps.com/Grand-Concert-Harps.htm. Must come with spare set of strings, tuning pin and protective hood, and a bottle of "Calmuril"-cream for softening fingertips (www.yliopistonapteekki.fi)
6. A million euros in cash (This one might be tricky - consult www.google.com)
I can't think of anything else right now, but I'll let you know if I do. This should be enough to get everyone started. I'd suggest instant messaging for planning who's to get what.

Anyway, now to today, which was a really nice day! I actually skipped my first lesson in the morning - music analysis... I just figured I had more important things to do, which was almost true, anyway. My day started with an extremely nice singing lesson. No matter how I feel when I go to these lessons, I always come out in a great mood because of my teacher, who probably should receive some medal for how she treats her students.
Next, I went to Tapiola for a rehearsal of Henriette Renié's "Le pins des charlannes" for two harps - I'm playing it on Thursday together with a girl who just didn't show up, so I had to play it with my teacher. I then went to give a lesson in CM, and the day ended with a Dominante rehearsal, where we rehearsed the B minor mass and some arrangements of songs from the 60's and 70's, which will be performed in May at an "entertainment concert" in Sellosali. All in all a very nice day! Oh, and I saw a woman today on the street who looked like a giraffe and almost made me laugh.
Music of the day: Bach's B minor mass. Preferably performed by The Monteverdi Choir under John Eliot Gardiner or Dominante! In my opinion, the Arias don't really score as high as the ones from Saint John's or Saint Matthew's Passion, but the rest is the best music ever composed for choir and orchestra (at least for now).

April 04, 2005

Curious incident of the police in the day-time

I just came home after visiting Pasi. He is tomorrow starting his career as a civil service worker (applause, everyone!!) and wanted me to tell him something about Lapinjärvi, the place he will have to spend four weeks in. Of course he can come home for the weekends. Talking about Lapinjärvi brought nice memories back of the summer of 2003, when Mummy and Dea were in Damascus and I used to spend the weekends with Daddy and then leave to Lapinjärvi every Monday at around six in the morning. Also, I remember that summer, because it was one of the hottest summers ever in Finland...
Today, when I came home in the afternoon, there were two police vans outside our house. When I took the elevator up to my floor I realised the policemen were all there. They asked me which apartment I was going to and I told them which one, and they saw me in. Apparently there was some problem with my neighbour. I wondered whether a gruesome murder was involved and was already expecting the police to ring on my door and ask me whether I had seen anything suspicious, like in British murder mysteries. However, the police left after around ten minutes (those peep-holes in doors come in handy sometimes...).
I today found out that Diala, my aunt from Damascus, is a passionate fan of this blog. I hope she'll soon post a comment!
Yesterday, I was at a party of Dominante and came home at around 1.30. Today, I spent most of the day at Museokatu, watching TV. I also changed my sheets, did some laundry, and enjoyed the incredibly warm weather outside. I actually felt hot in my winter coat. A sure sign summer is coming!!! I also enjoyed the tv series Six Feet Under, of which I bought the first 13 episodes on DVD from England. This is absolutely the best TV series I've ever watched!! www.hbo.com/sixfeetunder, but if you don't want to know what's going to happen in the episodes which haven't yet been aired in Finland, you'd better steer clear from the episode guide.
Oh yes, and on Friday was Annika's, Martin's and Zsolt's combined birthday party, which was really nice.
Good night now!
Piece of the day: Richard Strauss: "Beim Schlafengehen" (the last of the Vier Letzte Lieder) Preferably performed by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Book of the day: Mark Haddon: "The curious incident of the dog in the night-time" - I read this book in one day while I was still jet-lagged from the trip to New York. Everyone in our family is a fan, except for Daddy, who hasn't read it yet. Currently the TOP 22 book at Amazon.com.

April 01, 2005

Last day of March

It's funny how sometimes you can feel exhausted although you haven't really been doing much, but some days you just go on and on and feel like never stopping! This week has been a bit like that until now. It's been nice to get back to studying and working etc etc. Now I'm looking forward to the weekend - and the week after that.
Left the house at: 09.00
Came home at: 22.15
Things kicked off on Tuesday with TWO exams (Musiikkianalyysi & Äänenkäytön opettaminen kuorossa) which went well. I also had a group lesson of choral conducting, where I had quite a nasty surprise when I found out my teacher Jani Sivén is not going to be working in the autumn and he's getting a substitute teacher. This only adds to the stupid picture of next year anyway: As I have onced mentioned, I will next year probably be the only one at our school studying choral conducting (this depends on how many enter this year) as a major subject. However, there are some good things to be had, too - now I'll get to hold Audite rehearsals all by myself when Jani lets me :) And anyway, in the 2006 Mikko will come back from the army, Jani will return to work and Kati will not be on maternity leave anymore.
The reason I came back home so late were the rehearsals of Kauniiden Lasten Saari.
Left home at: 09.00
Came home at: 21.30
On Wednesday (yesterday), I had a performance with the harp in Espoon musiikkiopisto. It was fun to perform in Tapiolasali and I played my programme for next week's exam. Kirsi was also pleased.
THURSDAY (today)
Left home at: 09.30
Came home at: 20.00
Today,after CMS's rehearsal, Jarno came to have dinner with me. As we are both on a strict budget, we made spaghetti with tomato puree and onions. It was really good, though! For dessert, we had some cookies I bought in Harrod's. As a matter of fact, that happened exactly a week ago. A week ago at this time, I was already packing for my trip back. Hm.