23. September 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m learning a new piece, which was written in 2002. It’s not easy. It is taking, in fact, far too many hours, considering what you will actually hear of me. It’s frustrating in some ways, but I don’t mind the technical workout; it helps keep these fingers in shape! I had assumed the composer might be a string player, but I just looked up the composer’s bio and come to find out the instrument is … flute. Sigh. So is THAT why some oboe solos begin on low B-Flat (our lowest written note)?! And is that why I have a line that goes down to a LOW F?

NOTE TO COMPOSERS: Oboe only plays down to a low B-flat, below the treble clef. Some oboes are now going down to a low A, but please don’t count on it. And if you want low B-flat solo work, why not choose an English horn? It’s so much more reliable.

I know, I know, a low B-flat on an oboe sounds different than a (sounding) low B-flat (a written F) on an English horn. But STILL … sigh.

SECOND NOTE TO COMPOSERS: All English horns go down to a (written) low B, and we can purchase attachments (and some EHs even have the additional keywork) to play down to a (written) low B-flat. But please, oh please, could you give the EH player something to play before you give us those frightening “out of nowhere with a difficult first note” solos that you often give us? Pretty please? Coming in on a solo on a cold instrument is so darn scary! (I should tell you that the composer I’m writing about above didn’t do this, though; there’s not even an English horn in the work for some bizarre reason; there is picc, bass clarinet and contra bassoon … so why not EH? Sigh.)

I really am astounded when a composer writes for notes we don’t (and can’t!) play. Especially those who are teaching composition. It’s quite baffling. But I see the notes. They are in ink. Go figure!

Unless there’s a joke there that I’m just not getting. Hmmm. Maybe that’s the case? Could be, eh?

In any case, I like much of the work (it’s a bit too long for my taste, and I’d edit it a bit), but it’s a bear, to be sure.

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