… and gut, and soul, and …

This Mahler work is one of my favorites. As is this singer (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau).

What a nice way to wake up, really.

And yes, it begins with English horn and of course I love that too. We played the Rückert Lieder years ago—with a mezzo that I now can’t remember and Denis de Coteau (RIP) at the podium with the San Jose Symphony (RIP)— and, wouldn’t you know, I struggled with the first note, as I was dealing with a leaky English horn. Sigh. I should shut up about my first note struggles … perhaps I’m the only double reed player who deals with this, eh? Well, except I did see the NY Phil do the Mahler some years ago and the English hornist there missed a few of the first note attacks as well. I was actually encouraged by that. Hmm. Is that sick?

I think I’ll have to stay home from church today; the headache is worse, and I should probably just rest up for our final concert. I’d really like to avoid coughing fits!

Last night’s concert was certainly better than Thursday’s, and maybe today will be better than Saturday’s. It can happen. The review of Thursday’s concert was harsh. It was probably the harshest review I’ve ever read. I’ve met the reviewer, and he doesn’t easily bash things. I’m guessing it wasn’t easy for him to write what he did. Because I had nothing important I wasn’t hurt, as I am when I’m panned personally.

Reviews are tough. I know reviewers aren’t all evil people trying to kill us with words. I also know that sometimes they are spot on and sometimes it’s as if they went to something other than the concert they reviewed. I read reviews to see what that listener thought, but I don’t take them as gospel truth. Including the good reviews. If I don’t always agree with a negative review it just seems wrong to then take the good ones and say they are always accurate! But bad reviews do stab me hard sometimes. I might cry when I get butchered, wouldn’t you know? I do use the good reviews; we all need them for other jobs and for bios. It’s just the way the biz works.

In any case, it’s back under warm blankets for me. One more batch of low notes and I’m done with Dvorak for a while. I have to say, though, so as not to give the wrong impression, that I do love Dvorak. It can be beautiful stuff!

Although give me “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” any old time over Dvoark. Really.


  1. Last night’s concert was certainly better than Thursday’s

    Unless my ears are on totally different from Scheinin’s, it certainly was.

    You prefer Mahler over Dvorak?  *sigh*  It certainly takes all kinds, doesn’t it?

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Indeed it was. Much better. There are things I can’t write here or I’d explain more. (But yes, there were still problems in the O’Connor from what my colleagues told me … again, can’t write about it here, though! Must be prudent and all that jazz.)

    Yes, I do love Mahler over Dvorak. Mahler gets to my gut. Dvorak doesn’t. Just the way it goes, I guess. I want music to stab me in a sort of “good pain” way. And, for me, that’s what Mahler can do.

    I’ve often wondered about how this all works; how one piece of music can get to one person and not another. I’ve finally realized (because I’m slow it took a long time) I can’t force anyone else to feel what I feel. Nor can they force me, of course, to feel what they feel. So there you go. Is it subjective? Is it something built into our brains? Is it our backgrounds? (That’s certainly the case with old hymns; it’s about my history with them that causes such a feeling….)

    But I ramble. As usual.