I got to the theatre on the early side, thinking I’d warm up. Now when I write warm up I don’t mean warming up my body, as I’m sure you know. But getting into the pit I checked my handy dandy thermometer.

It was 63 degrees. Yikes!

I won’t even get my oboe out of its case when it’s that cold.

I turned on the space heaters the opera company has provided for us (they are somewhat of a joke, but I guess they are better than nothing), and sat. And sat. FInally we reached 65, so I pulled out the oboe and warmed up a bit. The temperature managed to get to 69 when we were tuning.

The overture was wonderful! The tempi were fabulous, and I have to say it was the best I think we’ve played it.

Then the curtain came up.

(Insert all sorts of screaming here if you’d like.)

The temperature immediately started to drop. It finally landed at 66.4. Warm enough that we’ll still play, but cold enough that we were pretty darn cold. It went back and forth between that and 66.9 … big diff, you know? … and I was pretty darn ticked.

Still, the first half flew by due to some quicker, wonderful lively tempi.

Second act? COLD COLD COLD. I wore my fleece jacket, turning the collar inward so it looked as if I was completely in black. If this temperature thing continues to be a problem I’m really tempted to suggest that the opera provide a plastic oboe for me. I really don’t want to deal with cracking oboe issues.

The best part of tonight was getting into my car and blasting the heat. The second best thing? Great tempi! That can really change the way things feel. And the cast did some rather fun things too … making us pit folk laugh out loud. That was fun. Even while we were frozen in the pit.

30. November 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Does anyone remember the time when you would sit at home with your sound system, put on a recording and just listen? Listen, as if there were something deep or important buried in the music?

I read this over at Campell Vertesi’s blog right here.

I’m not opposed to the iPod, and I don’t believe that everyone who uses the iPod doesn’t really listen, but I understand what Mr. Vertesi is saying.

I don’t think that this whole thing applies to just listening, though. I think folks read in a similar manner much of the time now. And watching? I think films get that same not-quite-working-at-it treatment. So I think it has to do with our culture in general, rather than just music. We want things quick. We want things easy. We want things understandable without a whole heck of a lot of pondering much of the time.

Or at least it feels that way sometimes.

If a piece of music—be it “classical” or anything else—takes time to process, takes perhaps more than one listen to understand, I think that work often gets put aside. Too much work, thank you very much. If a film isn’t easy to comprehend, well, maybe it’s just not worth it to some folks.

Or at least that’s the way it seems sometimes.

But maybe things aren’t as they seem. Maybe I’m just being silly and goofy.

Often that seems to be the case.

By the way, I still listen to music—both pop and classical—in my car. It’s different than “listening hard”, but I do it.
—–

30. November 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

There’s another Sondheim musical where the actors/singers are also instrumentalists. This time someone even plays the oboe.

Hmm.

We all know you shouldn’t have lipstick on to play oboe. So gee … I wonder … is she going without? I kinda doubt it.

This is funny: the blurb says: “Elizabeth Stanley plays April, Oboe, Tuba and Alto Sax.”

Now of course someone once sang about a gimmick. And the director has certainly found one. Maybe it even works. I won’t be getting to NYC any time soon to hear and see the show, so I’ll leave it up to the Mighty Reviewers. But then they liked Sweeney Todd, and I was pretty unimpressed with some of the playing. So maybe I’m just a picky old snob.

Ya think?

Update
My son sort of implied I’m being harsh.

How can that be? Moi? A gentle oboe player? An emotional English hornist?

A knife-wielding maniac.

Oh … yeah … there’s that, too.
—–

30. November 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

There’s something I really enjoy about my drive over the hill to UCSC. As long as the traffic isn’t bad (and it rarely is, since I’m driving counter-commute) I appreciate the scenic drive, my private time, and some music I might not necessarily listen to if I stayed at home.

Today I began with Leonard Cohen. I’m not all that familiar with him, but knew his song Hallelujah. (I bought the CD I listened to today, in fact, because my sister mentioned that song last week, wondering who wrote it; I knew the writer, I just didn’t know his version of the song.) I certainly liked what I heard today. I could swear I purchased something of his years ago and didn’t get it. Maybe it’s an age thing. Or maybe I’m just more open to things now.

Then it was some more Quartetto Gelato. Lovely. Fun. Moving. Very moving on some tracks. And the singer—a lovely tenor voice there!—really got to me.

So I’m now in a “mood” … sort of one of those squishy, weepy kinds of moods.

I have to quickly switch gears and get ready to teach!
—–