[Ascaloth/Akira] Nodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~, Episode 7

When a new female character of some significance enters the plot, and threatens to pose some serious competition to the female lead in matters of romance, what is a guy to do to avoid the Harem Male Lead label that befalls so many unassuming male characters? Why, snub the both of them to concentrate on your career, of course. In fact, Chiaki kills two birds with one stone by doing this; not only does he get Nodame and Rui off his back at least temporarily, he also gives both girls a chance for some female bonding by way of that quintenssentially female pastime – shopping. Of course, it doesn’t work out quite how one would predict given Nodame’s difference from the typical female, but at least he still gave himself some breathing space to concentrate on his new gig with the Roux-Marlet Orchestra. And considering the challenges he is about to face with the orchestra, he is going to need whatever breathing space he can get.

Nodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~, Episode 7.

The Black Prince has come forth! I wonder if grandfather glasses and hard wax really serves to be as good a disguise as such works like Superman and the Bourne trilogy make it out to be.

Of course, you ain’t foolin’ the redhead none.

Featured Piece: Paul Duka’s L’apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

"Ever seen Fantasia? That should tell you everything you need to know about this piece.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was originally a poem by famed German poet Goethe, author of other famous works such as Faust. There really isn’t much to say about this Symphonic Poem by Dukas that isn’t self-evident already." - Akira, The Nihon Review

"The story tells of a young apprentice who can not control the magic that he has conjured up. This goes well with the music. The beginning of the piece represents the apprentice’s cautious footsteps, as he is about to do something forbidden. The mid-section of the piece becomes more and more chaotic as the young sorcerer is unable to control his own creation. In the end, the old sorcerer has to come and clean up the young sorcerer’s mess. The music is fairly intuitively descriptive, and requires no huge amount of explaination to understand. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen Fantasia already to watch the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment with Mickey Mouse; it represents one of the best interpretations of Dukas’ piece available. It will tell you a lot more about the piece than I ever could." – Akira

Video (by suggestion from Akira): Disney’s Fantasia (1940), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Child prodigies do not come into being full-born; they still have to spend a majority of their young lives practising that whichever they are supposedly good at, and when one does so, the opportunity cost is the time that the child could have spent having a normal childhood, which include having the same kind of friendships as the average child. In that sense, it’s not hard to see why Rui chose to put her schedule of performances on hold for what is, to her, the experience of a lifetime.


Like I said before, Paul Toma Simon, the concertmaster of Roux-Marlet, is going to be Chiaki’s greatest challenge yet. I don’t believe it was shown in the anime, but within the manga, he is known as the "Silent Conductor" for his tendency to wrest control of the orchestra away from the conductor, and ignoring or overriding the latter’s commands, whoever he is, or whatever they may be. What happens when two strong wills are pitted against each other?

Being the first time he’s ever worked with the latter, poor Theo has to learn it the hard way; do NOT piss off Chiaki.

A scary orchestra, indeed. I’m not sure whether the anime skips it entirely or it just hasn’t gotten to that part yet, but Chiaki realizes that the Roux-Marlet Orchestra is an entirely different challenge altogether from the S-Orchestra back in Japan; the difference, as he mentions himself, is that the members of the latter actually want to be in an orchestra. Compared to them, it’s almost as if the Roux-Marlet members couldn’t care less.

Poor Nodame, getting upstaged by Rui twice in a row, and the latter not even aware of the ‘rival’ status she had earned in Nodame’s eyes for first ‘usurping’ her position as the first pianist to play a piano concerto with Chiaki, then again ‘usurping’ her position as an extra for Chiaki’s first concert with Roux-Marlet.

"Why, he is the disciple of the sorcerer you respected so much!"

It’s kind of a pity they couldn’t make time to play The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the concert itself, like they did in the manga; Chiaki pretty much put in a performance which he himself likened to being similar to the sorcerer’s apprentice, slowly but surely losing his grasp on the music, and unable to rein it back in.

But ultimately, Nodame is the one who knows to be reasonable about having her position usurped by Rui; it was not the latter’s fault in any way, and besides there was no stopping the momentum of positive feelings being generated amongst Roux-Marlet by her presence. Ultimately, they really do understand each other.

I just love Kawasumi Ayako’s take on a Yamato Nadeshiko laugh. Ohohohoho~

Featured Piece: Maurice Ravel’s Bolero

"I fucking love Bolero.

This piece stirs up so much controversy, I think it’s absolutely amazing. When you ask anyone who’s heard this piece in its entirety for their opinion about Bolero, you get two responses: "I fucking love Bolero." or "I FUCKING HATE BOLERO, IT’S THE WORST SHIT EV–" etc. You get the idea." – Akira

"This piece is ridiculously simple. It’s the same theme repeated for 15 minutes with different instrumentation. Sure, there is a modulation (OH MY GOD) towards the end, but… once the piece modulates, it… plays the exact same theme. There’s absolutely nothing else I can say about this piece musically. It’s one of the first examples of minimalist music; you can probably see why. There’s no sort of complexity, the rhythm stays exactly the same throughout, and there’s no sort of musical development (in terms of actual music, not orchestration) to speak of." – Akira

"People who love simplicity love Bolero. People who can’t stand repetition hate it. In a subtle way, the piece represents the orchestra attempting to "break free" from the repetitive rhythm of the snare drum, but I don’t buy that; I think Ravel found peace and tranquility in the repetitive sameness of the piece. The change is so subtle, so slow, that one can almost miss it if one doesn’t listen carefully. The piece builds up, fragment by fragment, until it finally ends in a roar. Like it or not, Bolero is one of the most famous pieces in classical music, and should recieve the respect it deserves." – Akira

Video: Ravel’s Bolero, Part I and Part II

Ultimately, it was impossible even for Chiaki to salvage Roux-Marlet on a minute’s notice, but this is not something that will break his indomitable will, as he looks forward to the work he has to in front of him to bring Roux-Marlet back to the glory days of the Stresemann era. Our intrepid male lead has come far indeed since his days of languishing at the Momogaoka Conservatory, and though the road to success in Paris may not be easy, it is something certainly within his ability to handle. After the bombed Bolero, what lies in store for him next, and what will he do to make Roux-Marlet great again?

Ascaloth, out.

3 Responses to “[Ascaloth/Akira] Nodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~, Episode 7”

  • so you finally cached up with the series! congrats!

  • The Nodame panty flash felt so out of place in this series

    I’m no classical music nerd by any stretch so to read Akira’s little blurb on the pieces is great. It gives the show that little bit of extra depth that I would’ve otherwise missed. But when I do recognise a piece, like Mickey Mouse’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, it gives me such a sense of ‘ah I’m not a complete pleb!’.

  • I thought my ears had problems when Ravel’s Bolero started playing lol. Not a easy piece to love granted the supposedly dryness of it.

    Respect to nodame for giving up her performance with chiaki to rui, must have been a very tough thing to do.

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