15. October 2006 · Comments Off on Here’s a Clue · Categories: imported, Ramble

It was Ms. Oboe, in the green room, with a razor blade.

Or some such thing.

Looks like those Seattle orchestra folk aren’t getting along very well. Musicians behaving badly? Go figure.

But really … a razor blade? I immediately suspect a double reed player! We carry those around in our little reed making kits. (Thinking back, I wonder if I took all my reed supplies to high school with me. I really can’t remember. I’m guessing no high school oboist would attempt to take knives and razor blades to school these days. Even cigarette paper is, I believe, a big no-no.)

I’ve had unfortunate encounters with colleagues, but I’ve never witnessed behavior like the Seattle mess. What a sad thing.

Sitting in my study at the moment, Ravel’s Bolero is playing on the iPod. Hmmm. I’ve played it before, but I don’t have a score here. Does anyone have the instrumentation? I just heard what sounded like a keyboard … maybe some sort of electronic thing (it certainly wasn’t piano!), and now I’m wondering what the heck it was … and what it was supposed to be!

Anyone? Anyone?

I see a site where I could, from what it looks like, download the score, but it says “download at your own risk” and warns that the work is under copyright. So forget it! I’m a stickler about copyright. (Ask my poor students!)

But I know there are readers out there who know a whole lot more than I do and I know you love to share your knowledge. I’m fine with that.

(But yes, I’ll continue to look online when I have some free time.)

Okay. I had a friend listen to it. He thought it sounded something like a Hammond organ. Whew. It wasn’t just me!

BUT … then I played it for my husband. He said it was something else … and Mr. Brice, he agrees with you when you write:
I believe I know the passage you refer to. It’s a really unique, and vaguely “electronic” sort of sound that’s effected purely by clever orchestration. The main melody is played in C major in the octave just above middle C (can’t remember which instrument just now… clarinet?). The same melody is played in the key of G (up a 12th) and E (up an additional 6th) by two piccolos. If the piccolos are really good and can do it softly and in tune, the effect is not one of polytonality, but of just a curiously-colored C-major melody. (Try a little on the piano, you’ll even get a hint of the effect that way).

So there you go, folks. This person who thought she had mighty good ears, doesn’t. 🙁

But at least I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong, eh?

15. October 2006 · Comments Off on Wow … A Whole Lotta Oboes Goin’ On · Categories: imported, Links

The musicians’ roster is similarly large. Take the oboe section, for instance, which in the Seattle Symphony and its peer orchestras typically has three members (the third doubles on English horn, the deeper cousin of the oboe). The Kirov has 10; six of those are dubbed “soloist” (principal), which means there’s plenty of depth in the section so that principal players don’t have to play all the time.

Read about it here.