The attraction of the virtuoso for the public is very like that of the circus for the crowd. There is always the hope that something dangerous may happen.
I hope I’m not breaking any rules here. When Mr. Gockley told the audience to turn off their cell phones in the Opera House he then implied that we in the ballpark could do whatever we wanted. Sooo … I recorded that (good protection eh?) You’ll hear my “Whoo!” when he talks about the Giants and you’ll hear a little comment about the double reeds, too. :-)
This blog entry will be removed if San Francisco Opera tells me I’ve broken rules. (You know me; I like to follow rules!)
Here’s a lovely oboe solo by Mingia Liu, with a bit of soprano accompaniment ;-) …
wow, even the instrument that the oboe derived from couldn’t stay in tune with itself
Jennifer Peterson has put up a blog entry about the event that Dan and I were a bit involved in. Do read it — it will explain it all and you can see a number of links to various places (including here … thanks, Jennifer!) What fond memories I have of Così fan tutte: Some Assembly Required … and of course I wonder … will there be something new to assemble next August?!
I don’t have any real “days off” — nowadays I consider a “free” day to be one where I only have one rehearsal or a couple of lessons to teach.
So true. A full day off is rare for us. we might not work a 9 to 5 job, but We R Music, or so it feels. (Today I woke up with the opening of the second movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto singing in my head … does the oboe never stop?!) Of course a lot of us (me!) whine a bunch, but we do the job mostly because we love it. (If I say that enough today perhaps I’ll start to believe it again; I’m in a “is it time to retire?” mode for some reason.)
Read the entire blog entry that I quoted above to know what this little blog conversation is about.
Or maybe don’t. I’ll just continue to talk/write to myself in that case.
Many musicians (myself included) complain about decibel levels. Many of us have suffered hearing loss or other woes. But now that earplugs are required one group is not happy.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence has ordered its bandsmen to wear earplugs to conform with health and safety laws.
All military musicians will now be required to “plug up” before playing their noisy instruments to protect their hearing.
The charity RNID said it fully backed the move.
But some bandsmen are concerned it could impair their performance, making them play out of tune or out of time.
I think it’s mostly that we, like most people, don’t like being told that we have to do something. But I could be wrong, of course. I do wonder how many of the members were already using earplugs.
I still struggle using mine. When they are in I hear my tongue clacking away, and I lose all sense of involvement in the orchestra, as I feel very removed from everything. I guess the only solution that would make us all more happy would be to stop blasting away quite so much.
Except maybe then the brass and percussion wouldn’t be happy? Dunno!
I must admit…the baroque oboe is weird sounding…
oboe: went from dying duck to wounded duck :) thats what i call progress!!!
Want a real winner of a ring tone? Check out the Met’s Ring ring tones!
And they are Frrrreeeee!
Reviewer Richard Scheinin returned to Anna Karenina for the closing performance, with the other cast. He appears to have been a wee bit encouraged by this second viewing and hearing. He still isn’t enthralled. But still, it’s better.
I would love it if a reviewer could sit in on much more. In some ways it would be cool, in fact, if they could play their instrument (assuming they were musicians before reviewers) a few times during rehearsals … I think it helps a person understand the work.
… and speaking of reviewers being musicians. I was charmed by the fact that Anthony Tommasini, a reviewer for the New York Times, is willing to play piano publicly … he knows how reviewers can be! :-)
I write music like an apple tree produces apples.
I love Mahler’s music. Really. Some of it, like his Rückert lieder and some of the slow movements in his symphonies, can move me in an incredible way.
But I sure struggle playing Mahler. And I wish it didn’t have to be that way.
This week we are doing Songs of the Wayfarer. Dear Mr. Mahler has included English horn. Oddly enough the first entrance is in the first oboe part, but I’ll still play it. This entrance, of three notes starting on a low C, occurs at the end of the third movement, begins piano and repeats another two times, diminishing in volume. Nice, eh? No warm up? Unkind. Then the fourth movement begins with English horn (now in the second oboe part) and flutes, and the first three notes of the piece are low D to F# to B for English horn (printed, so sounding a fourth below), all of which have to be played very softy so as not to be as present as the flutes. This little ditty repeats as well. It’s the volume that makes this all somewhat tricky for yours truly. I finally crammed a swab in the bell to make it soft enough. Then, of course, there are two other places where I need to play out more, so I’m not sure the swab will be a good idea (I have to see if I have time to remove it). The work could be played with only two players, but since we already have another oboist for the week we went ahead and split things, so I at least don’t have to move from second oboe to EH. But it’s that not playing, not being allowed to get comfortable, and then having to enter pianissimo on something that is important.
Ah, the life of an English hornist; sit sit sit sit sit sit sit sit sit — ready set play! — sit sit sit sit sit … and repeat.
Next set is similar; we are doing a Dohnanyi work that calls for me to play second oboe in movements 1, 3, and 5 and then I have major English horn solos beginning on the very first beat of movements 2 and 4. If I don’t alter the oboe part and play it on English horn — and I’m not sure I will be able to do that — it’s going to be StressCity™ … and I can’t tell you how weary I am of StressCity™.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m getting too old for this!
I get the feeling that other English hornists don’t fret over this like I do. Maybe I’m just a wimp? Hmmm. Well, yes, I know I’m a wimp! Silly me. Guess I need to just learn to deal. (Is that possible at my age?)
BUT … do listen to the Mahler. It’s really an incredible piece. (I’m not sure why the title of our concert is “Romance and Celebration” though; the Mahler isn’t exactly a cheerful or romantic thing. Hmmm.
Thomas Allen is singing the work, with Vaclav Neumann named as conductor. I didn’t see the orchestra named anywhere, but I didn’t exactly search for very long:
Perhaps his talents owe something to his instrumentalist upbringing: Music has been Owens’ passion since grade school. He grew up in Philadelphia, where he still lives, and was already playing oboe professionally in high school. But it was also in high school where he found he could sing — really sing.
“This may sound funny, but I saw more career potential in singing than being an oboe player,” Owens says. “As competitive as the opera world is, there’s always a job to be had somewhere — and, you know, there are companies who always need people.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams says that background as an instrumentalist is part of what makes Owens such a superlative musician.
“He’s got this special past, where he really knows what it means to be in an orchestra, to count, to listen for pitch,” Adams says. “His fundamentals — his musical chops, as we call it — are so secure.”
I’m not saying all singers who haven’t played instruments can’t count and don’t have a good pitch center, but I certainly believe that playing an instrument can help greatly with those things.
I had read before that Owens played oboe, but I had no idea he was playing professionally while in high school. Wow.
Yay!!! I got the right sound on the reed to the oboe!I’m gonna play the oboe in band!!! WEEEEEEEE