long overdue & upcoming

So, it has been around a year and a half since I have written anything of interest here. Life has been busy. Between grad school and an average of thirty-five hours a week of part time retail work, I seem to live in a perpetual state of exhaustion. That's not to say nothing good has happened, it most certainly has! I am in the last semester of my Masters degree work, and I have sent out PhD applications with reasonable hope that I will be accepted somewhere. I have finished some incredible courses, read some very insightful books, and completed some very interesting, and hopefully original, research. I have finally solidified my mélange of interests into a condensed description, should I ever run into any of my academic role-models in an elevator at future conferences:

Language of mortality in music: representations of death, dying, and mourning the dead in music, with specific interest in settings of the Requiem mass. Chamber music of the late 18th, and 19th centuries, particularly those works composed by Dvořák and Brahms. Musical aesthetics and cognitive theory of musical meaning.

Cheerful stuff, no? The kind of thing when you bring it up in conversations with non-music specialists usually gets them desperately searching the room for someone else they can talk to. My Masters thesis will be about the early polyphonic Missa pro defunctus (proto-Requiems, if you will, since the precise style and form had yet to be codified), though I haven't decided whether to focus on one in depth or contrast several. I should have a better idea of that by this time next week, but for now, why I'm writing again...

One of my friends and colleagues, curator of the Tumblr Classic Music, is beginning a year long project #composersmonthly, exploring different aspects of one composer a month for the whole of 2015. Berlioz was on the docket for January, and he asked if I would be interested in writing something about his 1837 Grande messe des morts. I rather foolishly agreed, perpetuating my habit of biting off more than I can chew at one time, and have been putting it off since early January (read: playing Dragon Age: Inquisition). Now there are only two weeks left in the month, but I will try none the less. Since I have never spent any real time with the work previously aside from listening to it once or twice, it is unclear how this will shape up, but we shall see what happens. Maybe this will be the jump-start I need to resume this full time. Maybe...