30. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

in the music biz, things are just so bizarre you wouldn’t believe it. Really. But I can’t say more.

Too bad, eh?

30. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Quotes

Veering toward a visual expression of my creativity has allowed a new
freedom to soar in my music-making. I like to let certain subjects in my paintings
shimmer, as certain notes in a melody vibrate, lighting up canvas or phrase
from within.

-Marsha Heller (1939) American oboist and painter (student of Harold Gomberg)


30. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

San Francisco Opera premieres John Adam’s Dr. Atomic tomorrow night. Dan and I will be attending the opera in 8 days. I’m counting down now. The Rest Is Noise blogger Alex Ross has an article in The New Yorker which gets me even more excited about the work, and aworks provides some good links to other information on the opera.

And then there’s an article begins with this:

Standing beneath the world’s first atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer falls to his knees as he sings the words of the poet John Donne: “Batter my heart, three-personed God.”

Alex Ross had mentioned this work too. It just so happens that this is my absolute most favorite poem. I hear that that particular part of the opera is stunning too.

Tomorrow night is also Symphony Silicon Valley’s opening night. No new works, but some pretty darn nice ones, and Beethoven’s fifth will have one moment that I can guarantee you’ve never heard before. I’ll explain why later. The conductor may explain prior to the performance. I wish he wouldn’t; I’d love to find out if anyone even noticed but since he’s forewarning everyone they will, of course, say they would have noticed even if they really wouldn’t. (No one wants to look as if they don’t know something … right?)

Support my child! The Performing Arts Department of Jameson’s school, Abraham Lincoln High School, is having a car wash tomorrow. (9:30-4:00 in the Lincoln quad.) Go get your car washed if you live in our area! Pretty please? Jameson sings in the Concert Choir, the Chamber Choir, Estetica (a 12 member vocal jazz group), and he’s in Tour Group, which is the select group of actors. We’ll be seeing him in Midsummer Night’s Dream in a few weeks; he has the role of Nick Bottom. Don’t ass me how he got that role. ;-)

As you can see, there are lots of things going on that cause me to count down. Good thing I’m good at counting. Comes from all those years as an English horn player; I did more counting than playing, I suppose! (But when I did play, it was usually a solo. I sometimes miss that San Jose Symphony (RIP) life.)

29. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I really hate having to listen to other people’s music because it’s on so loud. Especially when I’m driving or sitting in my own family room.

But today I bought a double CD set of Bach Cantantas. I suppose I need to apologize to the world, or at least the drivers near me. As I drove home I had (notice it is “had” and not “wanted”) to put the music on ever-so-loud. I mean … it’s Bach, you know? And, well, I was listening to “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”, BWV 140 (yes, Madeline, I have it now), and if the first chorus isn’t cranked up then something is just plain wrong.

I speak the truth.

I need to buy a recording of Un Ballo in Maschera. Anyone have any recommendations? I’ll gladly listen to your advice. I can’t believe I don’t own a copy already; maybe I borrowed a library copy the last time we performed the work. (Yes, I’ve only done it once before.)

Opening night of this opera will be on my birthday. How about that? I’m going to be 29, 39 … um … older than I am now. (It’s fairly foolish of me to even think I could be 29 or 39 when I have a 23 year old son, eh?)

There are some fiction books that have to do with music. Some are hysterical because they are so bad — clearly the author did little or no research on what our lives are really like. Others are fairly good and worth the time. (Actually I enjoy reading the good and the bad; the bad are so entertaining they are often worth my time too!) Via James Reel’s blog I found a link to an Amazon page about some of these novels. Of course one thing leads to another. I then found another page called A Knife at the Opera (hah!). I’m guessing I’ll be taken to more of these pages if I only spend the time.

Some novels will revolve entirely around music, while with others the music is there but so is a whole lotta “other” (As if “other” exists! Just kidding … here’s the wink ;-) … so don’t take me seriously please!) When I get home and have time to look on my bookshelf I think I’ll start my list of “music books” I’ve loved. I can tell you that John Hassler’s Rookery Blues was great fun and dealt with both music and academia, nailing the stereotype profs pretty well. Robertson Davies is fabulous and you simply have to read The Cornish Trilogy — his other trilogies are great, too. (Please note: I don’t recommend these for younger readers. Adult subject matter.)

27. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Links

There’s an article by Richard Scheinin in the San Jose Mercury News about the upcoming Symphony concert. Unfortunately the front page link at the news site took me to a review of the band Green Day. Hmmm. You might click on my link instead … it’ll get you there! (I’m guessing that they’ll eventually find this site and repair the link — time will tell!)

26. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Quotes

I liked the idea of working with community orchestras. They’re there because they really want to play music, not make a lot of money.

-Joan Tower (composer)


26. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

With our children getting older and moving out, I will soon have a studio to call my own! This is a first, and I’m pretty darn excited about it. It won’t be my “dream studio” but it will get my students and me out of the living room so the family won’t have to traipse through as I’m teaching and the TV and cooking noises won’t be distracting. I’ll also have a good amount of room. Woo hoo!

Of course if I had unlimited funds I’d put in double doors (either French or just sliding pocket doors) so that my students could easily see me as they walk to the door. (If you know our house you know what I’m talking about.) I would re-carpet immediately (the carpet in that room is shot), and I’d take out the closet because it juts into the room and isn’t all that handy anyway. I’d then purchase a nice desk and bookcase unit which is something I’ve always hoped for.

All of that, though, will have to wait.

I do insist on getting it painted first. (Hmmm. I should probably word that differently, as I think I’ll end up being the painter!) Both walls and ceiling need fresh coats of paint; I find it difficult to concentrate when a room is in bad shape. I also want to remove the current wallpaper, get a new valance, and, finally, put up Kelsey’s oboe artwork.

All of this is going to take some time, energy and money. I have only a little of those right now. Patience is definitely a necessity.

If only I knew where to get some. For free.

26. September 2005 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

To be fair, I have to include a response from one of the performers in Sweeney Todd that I found over at Talkin’ Broadway. So go here and read what the woman has to say.

Do I believe that all ten performers are accomplished musicians? Well, I’m skeptical is all. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and say “I play oboe too!” and when I ask where they say “Well, in high school. I haven’t played since then, but I play too!” It’s their assumption that they and I are at some equal level of ability. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I have to say that they are wrong.

BUT … and this is a big “but” … Sondheim approves of this new production. Who am I to argue with the man himself?

Yep. I knew you’d say, “You’re no one. You’re not even a speck of dust!” … and I guess I’ll have to agree.

So if anyone wants to send me a round trip ticket to NYC, and buy me a ticket to the show, I’ll go and review it myself. With a totally open mind. Honest! Who knows, by the time I’ve seen the whole thing perhaps I’ll have an open mouth as well … jaw dropping to the floor … in absolute amazement at the talent on stage. It could happen!

Then again, I doubt anyone would fly me to the moon … um … I mean NYC (I don’t ask for much, do I?) … so maybe I’ll just have to trust the real reviewers out there. (How does one get to be a “real reviewer”, I wonder. Is there a test? Do you have to have a degree in performance of some sort? Or is it just, “I see a lot of shows and I like to write”? Fill me in … someone … anyone …?)