And now my personal highlights from the Museo Nacional del Prado. My favorite collection at the Prado was Francisco de Goya's Black Paintings. A few from that series are featured below: Two Old Men Eating Soup, Witches' Sabbath, and Saturn Devouring His Son. I saw more original art in my two weeks in Paris and Spain than I had in my entire life previous. I want to think being around all those masterpieces infused me with creative magic. Remains to be seen.
As fantastic luck would have it, we were in Madrid during the Salvador Dalí exhibit at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The Reina Sofía museum is known for a variety of works, and houses Picasso's Guernica (and yes, it was breathtaking to behold).
I saw so many pieces for the first time, and I was truly moved beyond explanation. It was so hard to resist taking photos, but after the third museum attendant snapped at me, I felt compelled to stop giving Americans a bad name and resigned myself to taking copious notes. Thanks to the internet, I was able to arrange this mini-gallery of my absolute favorites. My favorites from the Museo del Prado coming soon!
If God had wanted me otherwise, he would have created me otherwise.
Johanne von Goethe
As I said in my previous post chronicling the gorgeous sounds of Paris, seeing Notre Dame changed my life. I saw it for the first time late at night, shortly after Brian and I arrived in France. It took my breath away and I cried. Cried! (The tears may have been facilitated by my extreme sleep deprivation, hunger, and the discovery that the promised air conditioning unit in our hotel room was "temporarily" out of order. But, it was at least partly the breathtaking beauty of this structure.)
By an amazing stroke of luck (fate!), we were also able to attend an 8am mass held in the choir loft. We were one of maybe a dozen patrons and were able to walk all through the building, including right up to the altar, in complete silence. Essentially, we had the place to ourselves. I may have already shared this story. It left me forever changed.
Today's sonic snack: my recording of the bells of Notre Dame striking two in the afternoon. I recorded this on our last day in Paris, shortly before we departed for Spain. We sat on the benches facing the front of the cathedral, stuffed full of crepes, and waited for the bells to chime so I could document their beauty. Enjoy.
THE SUNDAY SOUND: February 16, The Bells of Notre Dame.
Wanna hear the best Disney soundtrack of all time? Check out The Bells of Notre Dame. Best. Disney. Ever.
I made an audio documentary called Sealed a few years back as part of my Master of Arts degree. It chronicled the divorce of my parents and the effect it had on me and my siblings. It was the most cathartic creative project of my life so far.
The original was a little over 22 minutes, cut from roughly a dozen hours of recorded material. I am now applying for my MFA and have to select work for my creative portfolio submission. Since I can submit no more than 15 minutes, I was determined to get Sealed down to 10 minutes or less to keep room for other work. Editor friends, you know shaving a full 12 minutes off a finished piece is a FEAT. BUT I DID IT.
Running time: 9:55. Listen below!
The MFA is a terminal degree in my field (in other words, the credential I need to seek tenure-track professorships). My MA degree shaves 24 credits off the program, so if I get accepted... I will be able to graduate in five semesters. BAM.
THE SUNDAY SOUND: January 26, Sealed, the condensed cut.
Original cut and my research on the effects of divorce on children available here.
While Brian and I were visiting our families in El Paso, we took a day trip to Carlsbad Caverns. We spent roughly six hours exploring the cave, hiking down through the natural entrance. There was NOT ONE SOUL on the trail besides us; could not be more ideal. We stopped about halfway down and recorded the cave's breathing (yes, it actually breathes; there are only two natural entrances, no oxygen is pumped in, and the cave descends roughly 1,000 feet). We captured the faint sound of water droplets that, over millions of years, create the breathtaking structures you see below.
THE SUNDAY SOUND: January 19, From the Depths of Carlsbad Caverns.
Listen in pitch blackness while looking through the photos above; it will be just like you're there!
Today is the 29th birthday of my smart, talented, striking friend, Mariya. Her darling husband Zach organized a sushi night in her honor, and here we are at Cafe Sushi, just outside Harvard Square. Mariya is one of my favorite people and I am so happy she was born!
Always sentimental, I fondly recalled my own husband-organized 29th birthday celebration in June. BINGO at Saint Joseph's and Mexican food at El Potro in Union Square (he knows me so well).
And you know what? I realized with horror that I never shared my recording of the very special birthday tune sung to me at El Potro. That was six months ago! So, in honor of Mariya and 29th birthdays old and new, I now present a special Mexican birthday brought to you by Mariachi Estampa de America (you NEED to see their website). And, of course, the recording includes evidence of my undying enthusiasm.
1. I am OBSESSED with mariachis. I wanted mariachis at my wedding, but didn't have the cash flow.
2. I really want an authentic mariachi outfit. I would rock the hell out of that thing!
3. My friend Lisa (who has known me for over a year) thought I was half Mexican. IT WAS MY PROUDEST MOMENT.
THE SUNDAY SOUND: January 5, A Mariachi Serenade.
To really capture the moment, listen while looking at these photos: 29th Birthday Weekend.
I told you I would never sleep again. The first images went up at 3am. Now here's another one. At 10am. But how could I resist coloring a Dia de Los Muertos Wonder Woman?
Behold: my first creations via the digital coloring book I just discovered. I may never sleep again.
Merry Christmas, one and all. Brian and I have had the perfect holiday break so far, consisting mostly of good food and a good couch. Perhaps our most significant accomplishment? Watching the entire Harry Potter film collection from beginning to end. Odd to witness Harry, Ron and Hermione experience all awkward stages of puberty within a week.
Another holiday accomplishment? Co-creating a digital Christmas card for each member of our family. Brian handled the shooting and video editing, so the bulk of the credit goes to him. However, it started as my brainchild, so I retain at least a small percentage of the creative rights.
Today's sonic snack is the tune we performed to accompany the Christmas images Brian captured around our home. I set up a mic stand in the living room and we DID. IT. UP. We should make an album.
THE SUNDAY SOUND: December 29, Family Christmas Card.
I somehow forget the words to Jingle Bells. Classic.