October 9th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Life with Horses: Improvement

Mac, in his boots, is doing so well that he is off Bute completely now.  We had just under a half inch of rain from before dawn to early afternoon Monday, and Illusion went out and became disgusting mess (black clay mud on a faded-out palomino coat...)   He looks so pretty when he's not making a pig (in the literal sense of wallowing in muck) of himself. 

The farrier came and trimmed Mac's back hoofs, which he couldn't do last week because Mac could not bear weight on both fronts.  Now it's not a problem.   He is bored in the small pen and wants out but he's still on exercise restriction. 

Maybe, just maybe, the worst is over...
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Palestrina

Palestrina, a Renaissance composer.  We sang Palestrina's "Super flumina Babilone" on Sunday.  It's haunting, intricate music, superficially simple with nothing more complicated than one sixteenth-note "fillip"....and rather slow, so the long notes are really long and the sixteenth notes aren't that short.   What makes it intricate is the interplay of the parts, and the things you can do with the individual notes...and the fact that it's modal, not in the modern key signatures. 

If  you just sing the notes (or play them on the piano) it's lovely...and yet a little...flat? blah?...no, nothing so dire, but still not what it can be if you really understand the music and what it calls for in performance.  What brings it to life is the kind of precision that our conductor demands of us--precision in every aspect of every note, all placed in service of the text, which we sang in Latin, of course.  Each section has to understand--each person in each section has to understand, and listen, and respond to the coloring every other section is providing. 

We rehearsed it "in numbers" first, to drive the tanctus, the basic beat, into our brains (because there are places it's easy to lose it here), and then moved to words, and then to shaping every vowel, every shade of volume and tone of every note...

We sang at the back of the church, arranged in a circle so we could clearly hear each other.   And it was...what it should be. 

It's my earworm until rehearsal tomorrow.  It's a good one.

  • Current Music
    Palestrina "Super flumina Babilone"
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woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Feeling Scientific

The new OdonataCentral site is up--got the news on the TexOdes listserv, and ran over to check the county checklists. Sure enough, no one had yet entered some odes that I have photographs of, for our county.  So I submitted a couple, only to discover that they sized up the shots I sent--which I had resized smaller and then compressed, so the larger versions don't look very good.  I'n proud of some of those images; I didn't want them to look blurry or pixelated.  So I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon and evening and early Monday morning making new crops of the originals, checking dates and IDs, and submitting the rest of my list that they didn't already have.  I still have one to go, because I'm waffling over which picture of the Plateau Spreadwing is most characteristic.

As with the contributions I've made to a national butterfly and moth database, I am delighted to be a contributor to scientific knowledge.  "This bug occurs in this county" may not seem like much, but...to someone studying biogeography and the movement of species, it is.   With climate change already changing the distribution of plants and insects (and in some cases higher taxa, my data could be very useful indeed.

What species are "mine"?   Great Spreadwing, Southern Spreadwing, Halloween Pennant, Common Whitetail, Band-winged Dragonlet,  Twelve-spotted Skimmer.   I'm sure they exist elsewhere in the county; they  just hadn't been submitted/validated before.