30. May 2005 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

The Music Business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long
plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die
like dogs. There’s also a negative side.

-Hunter S. Thompson
—–

29. May 2005 · Comments Off on Done · Categories: imported, Ramble

The season is over. Now it’s on to Les Mis for me.

… and we weren’t together much of the concert, so perhaps last night was the same, and and I just wasn’t noticing because I was so busy working. (Trust me, this can happen! Sometimes I’m just too self involved!)

Anyway, I do know one reason we weren’t together. You can always email me if you want to know. Some things are best left off of my site.
—–

29. May 2005 · Comments Off on More Piano Man News · Categories: imported, Links

So some folks think they know who the “Piano Man” is. Read here and see what’s up now.
—–

29. May 2005 · Comments Off on 1 Down, 1 To Go · Categories: imported, Ramble

We had a symphony concert tonight. Ahhhh, Brahms! I just love his music. It just wraps around me. Incredible stuff.

I heard tell that the orchestra didn’t sound as together as we have in the past. I’ll be curious to read the reviews, although, of course, the reviewers aren’t necessarily perfect, so who knows what they’ll say and if what they say is completely accurate. From where I was sitting, it felt quite good. I really wonder what others heard out in the hall. It’s frustrating to know that what we were doing wasn’t working for some listeners. I’m not sure how that can be fixed, though. The stage is quite limiting and there’s not much we can do in rearranging things. It’s much smaller than the CPA “barn” stage. (The hall itself is much nicer, too.) But if the audience is hearing an “untogether” group something is obviously awry.

(Another chance to use the word “awry”! I love that word.)

But anyway, despite the negative report, I certainly enjoyed the concert. Especially Brahms.

Now if we could just do the Serenade sometime. THAT would be splendid!

And now it’s nearing midnight (will be past midnight by the time this posts, I’m sure). I’m beat. And we do it all again tomorrow. Show biz!
—–

27. May 2005 · Comments Off on Such a Deal! · Categories: imported, Links

So … need a conductor? Try ebay.

Really.
—–

27. May 2005 · Comments Off on This Weekend · Categories: imported, Ramble

Symphony Silicon Valley will be giving our last concert of the season. We are playing Rossini’s Overture to Barber of Seville, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

Ahhhh, the Brahms! What wonderful music. There are times when I just want to stop playing and listen. I want to melt. It really is beautiful.

While the demise of the San Jose Symphony (RIP) was heartbreaking (to say the least — and of course it was also “incomebreaking” for many of us, a fact that the new “SSV” can’t completely repair for us), its death did me one favor: I now get to play works I never would have played. Because I sat in the English horn chair for San Jose Symphony I missed Brahms. I missed a lot of Beethoven (although I sometimes sad assistant principal for those). I missed a massive amount of repertoire because composers don’t always include an English horn part (fools that they sometimes are!). I heard it of course; I was librarian for some years so I had to be there, and other times I might play one or two works on the program and I’d stick around to hear the rest. But playing some of this music is new to me and I’m loving it, even while I sometimes want to ask if I can “sit it out” just so I can be wrapped in music and not be distracted by my own part. :-)

Anyway, the Brahms is a great work. The Rossini is … well … Rossini … fun, full of energy, easy to listen to. The Rachmaninoff appeals to nearly everyone and a Barry Manilow fan might perk up during the second movement. So I’m guessing this is a good concert for TAFTO month.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I write TAFTO you haven’t been reading Drew McManus’ site so you might want to check that out. Now.
—–

27. May 2005 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

Opera is for giving you goose bumps, for making the hair stand up on the back of your neck, for making you cry.

-Dr. Barbara Baker

(I located Dr. Baker’s blog via Prima la musica, poi le parole: opera blog. Good find, Plm!)
—–

25. May 2005 · Comments Off on ACD at Sounds & Fury … · Categories: imported, Ramble

thinks I’m all wrong. He may well be right.

It’s very rare for me to say that I know I’m right. I’m willing to hear others out. And I may just be too dense to “get” all the subtleties of the opera.

I’m also willing to listen to the opera again.) I’ve been known to change my mind. I also know that while some works “grow” on me and improve with age and listening, others don’t. (Take Carmina Burana, for instance! When I was in high school I thought that was one incredible work. Now I can take it or leave it, leaning more toward the leave it side. But oh no! Will this get me into more trouble? Probably so. Sigh.

Read my public humiliation here. ;-)

See, here’s the thing. “I’m an oboe player, Jim, not a critic.”* Or a composer. OR a scholar. And I’m also very wimpy and somewhat flip-floppy and I’m especially easily intimidated. So being critiqued by someone like ACD makes me think I’m probably all wrong.

That’s how my mind works.

Or doesn’t work. You decide. ;-)

*If you don’t get this silly quote you are probably just too young or too old. (I, on the other hand, am “just right.”)

In Other News
we had two symphony rehearsals today and I’m back on second oboe and there are a whole lot of low note entrances that are driving me nuts! Playing second is such a challenge, and often a frightening thing. The thing about the second chair is that you are not really supposed to be noticed all that much. Play to loudly and you are wrong. Miss an entrance and you are even more wrong.

I sure get angry with composers who make the second oboist come in pianissimo on a low C. Why the heck didn’t he just write it for English horn and make our lives easier? Huh?
—–

25. May 2005 · Comments Off on Don’t Try It Now! · Categories: imported, Ramble

The opera is over. If you click on the link below you’ll be hearing who knows what! :-)
—–

25. May 2005 · Comments Off on “That” Opera · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m listening to a broadcast of Lorin Maazel’s “1984”. (Online. BBC 3. Isn’t the internet cool? Just go here.) “1984” quickly became a greatly panned opera. The conductor turned composer, it has been said, put a good amount of his own money behind this performance. (Opera San Jose did that once, performing “Ode to Phaedra” because the composer paid for us to do so.)

I can’t say I’m thrilled with what I’m hearing, but I have a difficult time coming in on the middle of an opera. I would have preferred to see it as well, since there is the visual aspect of opera. But so far I would say it mainly sounds … messy. Messy and noisy. I’ve hit on an English horn solo now. Ho-hum.

Oh. Really ugly moment. Bad voice. “Why there’s no you …” in case that tells any of you where I am in the opera. (Am I dissing a great singer? Oh dear. I hope not! It’s probably just the poorly written part, similar to Star Wars poorly written dialogue which makes the actors look abominable. Yes?) “I’m so blue without you. So bluuuuuuuue.” Bad poetry too. “Tell me why, tell me why … there’s no yoouuuu.” Ah. Now we move to the blues. I get it. She’s blue so the trumpets play the blues. Got it.

I’d love to hear what the orchestra members thought of it. It doesn’t sound like anything I’d want to play, but sometimes these things can surprise us and be great fun to play, even while not a thrill to hear. Anyone know any of the orchestra members? Will any ‘fess up?

And the broadcast continues … so far I’m not blown away. And I think I’ll go read a good book instead.

“La la la. La la la. La la la.” (I really got into THOSE lyrics.)

Oooh. Messy wind playing. I wonder if the parts are near impossible.

Okay. Applause. Must be the end of Act I.

Definitely time to take a break!
—–