24. July 2005 · Comments Off on My New Oboe · Categories: imported, Ramble

I am getting more and more comfortable with the new (old) oboe. It’s really a wonderful instrument, and I’m so thankful to have found it! I have been going back and forth between both oboes during the show, since my original oboe is so predictable and I know what to expect from it, but it’s a bit fussy about certain notes right now, one of which is the first note of the sewer solo, so it’s been demoted. Poor oboe! I’ve been using the new one for the Les Mis “sewer solo” and it is so reliable I’m ecstatic! I call them oboe “1” (my original Marigaux) and oboe “A” (the “new but older”, Marigaux). Don’t want either to feel bad, you know? 😉

And the count is now … drumroll … 54/1.

I can’t believe I have one show left. Amazing.

22. July 2005 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

Music is the air I breathe and the planet I inhabit. The only way I can pay my debt to music is by bringing it to others, with all my love.

Cathy Berberian

18. July 2005 · Comments Off on More On Ballet · Categories: imported, Links

Will the fun never end? Here’s a ballet review for you.

There is an article about ballet that greatly praises the art form:

There is no other art form that is so highly evolved, sophisticated, sublime, where absolute discipline of technique is allied with grace, beauty, sensuality and pure emotion.

Okay, okay, okay. So some folks like ballet. No. Some folks love ballet. So maybe I’m just too dense to get it.

Or maybe I hate that we have to make the music fit the dancers’ needs rather than having the dancers stick to composers’ tempi.

Or maybe I’m just jealous because I’m a total klutz!

18. July 2005 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

One man only in this orchestra does not allow himself any such diversion. Wholly intent upon his task, all energy, indefatigable, his eye glued to his notes and his arm in perpetual motion, he would feel dishonored if he were to miss an eighth note or incur censure for his tone quality. By the end of each act he is flushed, perspiring, exhausted; he can hardly breathe, yet he does not dare take advantage of the respite offered by the cessation of musical hostilities to go for a glass of beer at the nearest bar. The fear of missing the first measures of the next act keeps him rooted at his post. Touched by so much zeal, the manager of the opera house once sent him six bottles of wine, “by way of encouragement.” But the artist, “conscious of his responsibilities,” was so far from grateful for the gift that he returned it with the proud words: “I have no need of encouragement.” The reader will have guessed that I am speaking of the man who plays the bass drum.

-Hector Berlioz

(I stole this quote from Byzantium’s Shores.)

17. July 2005 · Comments Off on A Little Mention · Categories: imported, Ramble

I have been mentioned on (or is that in?) the Hurd Audio blog. He writes:

I do wonder what would happen if the respective economics of orchestras and baseball switched places. In such a world Patricia Mitchell would be an all-star oboe player making ten million dollars a year with her very own bobble-head doll and trading cards. And the Yankees would be struggling to pay for their own road trips while they attempt to market games to a younger audience without alienating the blue-haired old ladies who faithfully subscribe every season (even though several quit coming after they introduced that “modern” designated hitter rule).

Oooh. A bobble-head doll. Cool! Trading cards sound fine too. (That’s actually been done by at least one orchestra.) I wonder, though, if I’d need to learn how to spit. I’m not very good at spitting. And I don’t chew tobacco or gum.

The great thing would be the averages. We’d have pretty darn high averages, you know? Much higher than a ball player has.

17. July 2005 · Comments Off on More On Ballet · Categories: imported, Ramble

Here’s the other thing … there’s so much posturing. The parading around and all that jazz. I don’t get that either.

Folks talk about how symphonic performances should change; we should get rid of all that formality. Ballet is full of this but of course can’t get rid of it because it’s part of the whole shebang. Same with opera, really.

Anyway, that miming and everything else just doesn’t work for yours truly.

But now that I’ve been watching the program (which I will readily say is beautiful even while it puzzles me) my left foot has gone to sleep and is driving me crazy. I’m sure this is just punishment for my comments.

ACD sent me an email because … well … read it here and you’ll see (hope this is okay with ACD, as I didn’t ask. Do tell me if it’s not, please!) …

I can’t figure out how to access your comments section on your blog to leave a comment to a post (I’ve tried everything in sight), so…

Your spellchecker flagged “bandaid” because it’s not spelled bandaid, but Band-Aid (it’s the name of a proprietary product; note the uppercase as well).

Two things:
1) One reason some folks can’t leave a message is because they have a firewall set up. If you get an error message about a referrer or some such thing. If you turn that product off (Dan suggests it might be a Norton product you are using) you might then be able to leave a message.
2) I knew that Band-Aid was a trademarked word, but I just figure bandaid was a word, and I guess it’s not. Go figure.

It should be, don’t you think?

… and thanks, ACD!

17. July 2005 · Comments Off on You Know What I Don’t Get? · Categories: imported, Ramble

I don’t get certain bits of ballet. The stuff on toe. When the woman is up there and her arms are doing all this stuff and her feet are moving moving moving on those tippy toes. And there’s usually harp playing then. I just don’t get it.

I know that’s lame, but there you have it.

Once the dancer starts to actually move it seems a bit more like “something” … but that tapping thing. And those hand motions. I dunno.

(But I have to admit I’m really not a ballet fan. So now you can respect me even less than you did before. If you had any respect for me before, that is!)

The reason I mention this ballet problem I have is because I’m channel surfing and channel 10 (KTEH, our local PBS station) is showing Swan Lake right now. Odette is dancing with Prince Siegfried. He looks like he’s in pain … that kind of “love-pain” stuff that ballet dancers do so well. She’s now taking her bow. She looks like she’s in pain too.

Now the quartet of swans is dancing. This is actually the part of the ballet that does amaze me, as their movements are in unison, from the tips of their toes to the top of their heads. Pretty amazing. And the oboes sound mighty good too. 🙂

(It IS all about the oboes, after all.)

Don’t get me wrong; I admire what those dancers can do. I’m amazed at how they make it look so darn easy I even start to think “Gee, I might be able to do that” until I remember that I can barely put one foot in front of the other and not trip and fall, and I certainly can’t lift my leg even up to my waist so lifting it over my head would be a laughable thought.

But I still don’t get ballet. Especially story-ballet.

I also don’t get why I missed the attack today on the sewer solo. But WHO wants to go THERE right now?


The rest of the solo went very well, and yet I am able only to focus on that one note. This is my life in a NUTshell.

17. July 2005 · Comments Off on My Finger Story, Nearly Complete · Categories: imported, Ramble

So the cut on my finger is healing fairly quickly. I’m relieved. But I haven’t told “the rest of the story” …

I had a bandaid* on the finger after I cut it, but I knew I’d have to do something different before playing Les Mis. Having a bandaid on the half-hole finger really doesn’t work for me. (I’m not sure if all oboists would agree, but there’s just not enough sensitivity.) So I went to the local drug store near the Curran prior to our show. I thought I’d buy some liquid bandaid kind of stuff, but I didn’t see any there, so I bought some sort of surgical tape stuff instead. When I got to the musicians’ room I pulled off the bandaid. YIKES! I didn’t realize it would hurt, cause the cut to open again, and bleed all over. I got out some of the tape, and quickly put that over the wound (after sopping up the blood, of course). I figured that if I didn’t like the way it felt I could simply take it off and bleed all over my key or something.

That was a mistake!

I went to the pit and tried to play. The tape was just a bit slippery and I didn’t think it would work well. So I decided to take it off. But the tape is … well … TAPE! Nice, stay-put, sticky tape! I couldn’t get it the darn stuff off because when I tried to it started to pull off a hunk of skin and the cut began to bleed like crazy. So there I was, with tape still stuck on my finger, blood oozing from the corners, wondering what I should do next.

Well, a little pressure and some sopping up of blood (it’s amazing how much a tiny cut can bleed … seeing it now I realize it wasn’t all that big), and the cut stopped bleeding so profusely. I got out a scissors and cut as much tape off as possible (but none right on the cut since that seemed to be where it was adhering so stubbornly), and knew I’d just have to deal.

So I did.

Everything seemed to be going fine. On occasion I had to wipe blood off the half hole keys of both the oboe and English horn, but it was okay. Until the “sewer solo”. Sigh. the first note came out fine (always a “whew!” for me), but the leap to the second octave simply didn’t happen. There was a very brief moment of silence. I think my finger simply didn’t stay covering the half-hole key. The tape was slippery and I didn’t have the sensitivity to know exactly where it was, so I’m guessing that was the problem. Or maybe I hit something because I was feeling so uncomfortable. I really don’t know. My heart went “kaplooey” (if hearts do that) and mostly I was upset with myself. But there you go. Things happen.

I’m sure very few in the audience even knew. Shoot, as I may have mentioned before, they are so busy watching Valjean drag Marius to safety that they probably barely hear me. (I tend to think it’s all about the oboe, but I’ve been told otherwise by people who’ve seen the show. I guess I have to believe them.) But it’s that pride thing, as I’ve mentioned at my other site.

Pride is a nasty thing, if you ask me. It just interferes with my sanity. I need to forget about the errors I make and go on, and I can’t seem to do that. I dwell on them. I’m embarrassed. I wallow. And it’s really about pride. So this is something I’ll have to work on; get rid of the pride problem and I think I’d be happier. And if I do … well … I’ll blog about how proud I am that I’ve rid myself of the pride issue.

Or not.

But back to the finger … (It’s amazing how I can ramble, don’t you think?)

Yesterday I had to deal with getting back on the bike (or the horse, or whatever you want to call it) and play that sewer solo again. In the morning I went to our local drug store and found some of the liquid bandaid stuff. I put that on at home, to see if it was a workable solution (the tape finally came off with a lot of warm water). I can’t describe the stinging I felt when I put it on. I thought I was going to go through the roof. But that finally stopped and it was clear to me that this stuff was going to be the solution to the cut problem. Now I “merely” had to get through the solo so I could get over that hump of fear. (Okay … mountain of fear at this point.) Praying through the whole solo, I made it during the matinee. It wasn’t as freely musical as I’d have liked, but there were no problems. And then last night … well … still praying through it (as I always do, to be honest) … it was perhaps the best I’ve played that particular solo.

The finger today is healing very well. I don’t believe I’ll need to put anything on it at all. Good news!

So there it is. I managed to get back on the bike and ride around the block. I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but I was wearing liquid bandaid and that worked just fine.

I would never recommend cutting your finger with a reed knife, though. It’s just a bad idea!

*My program here underlines bandaid which implies it is a misspelled word. Hmmm. (My program also marks “messpelled” as incorrect, but I think I like that word; I think it should be defined as a correctly spelled word that looks messy. Thoughts?)