Sunday, July 5, 2009

An American in Paris

Yesterday was the Fourth. And I was in Paris. It was all I could do to keep from running into the streets and yelling "GENERAL LAFAYETTE!!!" But, I refrained. Be proud.

We had a lovely fourth. It started, as hinted in my previous post, with castleing. Which was amazing, and I am awesome (see previous post again). Following the castle visit we walked through a Gothic cathedral and Danielle and I explored some of the town. We then visited a certain composer's house. You'll have to guess who, because legally I can't tell you who. But he looked like this as a kid:

His house was beautiful. He was somewhat of a recluse and chose the village because it was small and quiet. He was also an insomniac and needed somewhere to try and get some sleep. The view from his house was beautiful and the house itself was really lovely. He was apparently quite the handyman and did much of the work on the house himself. For example, his living room appeared to be perfectly symmetrical, but actually he had moved the wall forward to create the illusion that the room was even. The space left he used to store copies of his scores. Also, this particular composer, apart from being a reclusive insomniac, was extremely child like and his house was full of many practical joke objects. He had a tea cup with a hole drilled in the bottom that he liked to give guests, our director said his teacher remembers meeting this composer and having this prank pulled. He also had a beautiful little bell that guests would try to ring, never knowing that he had put ceramic inside of the bell to muffle it. He also had a pretty substantial toy chest. He had a beautiful library with many old books (something else he colected, bought mostly for beauty, not for reading.) Finally there was his composition room. It was quite beautiful, but very very dark, with drapes over the windows and door. Our guide said this was to help him focus and to reach a different level. Perhaps by dimming the visual stimulation one could be a better auditory artist. This composer wrote many of his most famous works from this room, including the piece that has made more money than any other piece in the history of music. Pretty amazing. The piece, which features a recurring melody that never stops, was inspired by his childhood experience of watching the machines at the car factory where his father worked not by a dance as many assume. The largest painting in the room was one of his mother, who often sang to this composer and inspired the melodies for many of his great works. Down stairs was the bedroom and bathroom, which both showed how he was slightly OCD. He wasn't a show off with his appearance because he dressed up regardless, he just liked to look good. The garden outside was beautiful and was modeled after a Japanese Zen garden. All put together by this composer.

In the evening a group of about twelve of us went out for a night on the town. American Style. We hit up a pancake joint and then walked from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower where a few of the group sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Not sure the French appreciated that one. Oh well. The walk was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. It was fun for us because we were able to talk and get to know each other. For those who were interested I ranted about cool historical goodness as we walked down the Seine, thus earning a place as the person to be asked questions when ever anything looked cool. Reading that French history book has paid off. It was nice for me because as I was talking through everything I was able to solidify placement of rulers and events, and those who listened seemed to like learning a little more.

~ I like small towns in France much more than Paris. I really just don't care for big cities. It is sooooo crowded and smelly. That said, I am enjoying it here, but I really really loved the little town.
~ Lee, one of the composers here is 6'9. We both sandwiched Amber and it was rather comical, sometime we'll get a picture and I'll post it.
~ Tried another cheese today. Liked it, but wouldn't buy it again. Sooo, total I've tried 13 and liked 11.
~ Placement exams today went well. It's so liberating to do counterpoint when you have no idea how. You just shove down notes. Part writing rules are for sissies.
~ Blonde moments for Amber: 3 in two days. Not bad. According to Amber, San Fransisco is tricky to find, Pancakes need warning before photo ops, and Harrold B. Lee has a thing for brick oven... guess when you're cool enough you can get permission to come back for these things.
~ Pizza in the park is glorious.
~ Dr. Lasser isn't nearly as intimidating as I expected. I had my piano placement exam with him and was really nervous but he was sooooooo nice and I didn't bomb it completely.
~ Notre Dame is still more beautiful at night. Actually Paris is better at night, because it stinks less and everything is all lit up.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds heavenly. Keep up the good work!! (And I'm perfectly intrigued as to why, legally, you can't tell us whose house you visited?!)