Jan Sandström: Det är en rose utsprungen
Siglo de Oro

Otto Olsson: Advent
Sofia Vokalensemble

When you practice are you using the same posture that you use when you are in rehearsals or concerts? Is your head in the same position? How about the angle of the oboe and reed? I’ve noticed that so many of my students have their heads down further than they should be during the start of their lessons, when they are doing long tones and scales. They are looking down much of the time. When I ask if that’s how they sit and hold their heads when they are in rehearsals and concerts they say no. Reeds react differently if we have a different angle. Try to practice with a consistent angle, and use the one you use when at orchestra or band rehearsal.

Oh, and “I always do that!” is not permission to “always do that.” As I tell my students, a conductor would not respond well to me if I made a mistake and said, “I always do that!” as if that somehow makes it acceptable or at least expected. Don’t give yourselves permission to “always do that.” Fix it!

Last night as I was driving home from our final Symphony Silicon Valley rehearsal I heard a piece I’d never heard before for English horn and strings. How did I not know about this sweet piece?

Concertino In a Flat Major, Op. 34
English horn and orchestra
I. Preludio
II. Capriccio (05:49)
III. Adagio (13:19)
IV: Finale (21:28)

Jose Antonio Masmano
Corno Inglés

Peter Csaba, Director
Orquesta Ciudad de Granada
Auditorio Manuel de Falla
Granada, 11 y 12 noviembre de 2011

… from the very talented singer I’ve posted before:

So bad it’s good? Hm. I wonder.

So … um … enjoy. Or not. You choose!

The Angel Gabriel
Good Shepherd Band

Maria durch ein Dornwald ging (Maria Walks Amid The Thorn)


It is very unusual for professional musicians to not do The Nutcracker around the holidays. It’s a staple. It’s pretty much expected. It is also not at all unusual for us to whine a bit about it, since playing so many performances for so many years can be a bit tiring. In addition, we usually play at least up until Christmas and some groups go after as well. We miss family time. We miss traveling. So we whine.

Until we lose the gig.

Our local ballet company was struggling mightily for a number of years, and they eventually started performing to recorded music. Then this past year they folded all together.

Bye bye, Nuts.

Suddenly many of us missed The Nutcracker. Funny how that happens. I especially missed seeing all the little children so dressed up for their first experience with the Nutcracker. That was always a delight to see, and I know that we were creating a memory for them that would, very likely, last a lifetime.

So gone was the Nutcracker. And I was sad about that.

UNTIL … our very own Symphony Silicon Valley decided to produce it on our own! If you care about live music with ballet. If you care about making this new endeavor a success. If you live in the area. PLEASE purchase tickets!

Richard Allain: O Dayspring
Siglo de Oro; Patrick Allen, Conductor; Sam Corkin, Soprano Saxophone

O Dayspring, brightest of light everlasting, and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten him that sitteth in the darkness and the shadow of death.