30. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble


Many major figures in modern art were fascinated by the relationship between visual art and music, especially those who followed in Van Gogh’s footsteps and experimented with colour in novel ways. Vincent himself took music lessons from an organist in Eindhoven, but they were not a success, because he constantly compared chords with pigments such as Prussian blue and cadmium yellow. His teacher concluded that he was dealing with a madman.

The above comes from an article about visual artists and music.

I like jazz. Sometimes. But so often, to me, it becomes far too self-indulgent. I feel as if the musicians are saying (or shouting), “Look at us, look at us!” and that gets in the way of the actual music. In addition, when improvisation goes on. And on. And on. I sometimes want to say, “Enough already!”

Maybe I’m just too uptight? I wonder!

But, really, I like jazz and the creativity that can take place in it. I just don’t want to feel as if I’m being held captive by the players.

I also like visual art. A lot. And more as I get older and have more time to spend with it. Which reminds me that this summer is a perfect time to get to some art museums. I’ve certainly got the time.

Back to my earlier post … and I’m happy to say that the CD I purchased which arrived today, American Masterworks for Woodwind Quintet, has some great works from which we could choose for the recital. In addition, the CD Impressions, for oboe, clarinet and piano, has other alternatives. (The latter would involve some rehearsal issues, as I’ve mentioned.) There is fine playing on both of these CDs, too!
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So my quest for the right work continues. It’s not like I’m too picky … is it? I only need a chamber work written by and American composer. Oboe is a must, but there are different combinations that would work. Available for the recital are oboe (me), flute, clarinet, violin, piano. In addition we could try to persuade a bassoonist to join us. (Why? Because she likes us …?!) Most convenient would be four woodwinds, since we all live on “this side of the hill”. But I’m open to other suggestions.

I did find a trio for oboe, clarinet and piano that could work. It’s by Griebling-Haigh. Anyone familiar with that name? She was new to me! I have a recording of the work and I think it sounds like a lot of fun to play. The only issue I have is rehearsals, since the pianist is “over the hill”. I mean that in a non-age sense; UCSC is a drive over the Santa Cruz Mountains, and we adjunct faculty only make that trek once a week.

I also ordered a woodwind quartet work by Arthur Harris, but now I’m wondering if he’s British. (The work was included on an American composers CD, so I made the assumption he was American, but doing a search I only come up with a British composer.) Anyone know this guy?**

And is anyone familiar with the Peter Schickele work for woodwind trio (oboe, clarinet, bassoon)? I have owned that forever, but have never heard nor performed it.

Why American?

Because that’s what the person in charge decided. It does help narrow things down and adds a theme and all. (Last year we did French composers, so it’s not like we are USA centric.) Hmmm … perhaps “American” could be Canadian also … yes?

Anyway, I’ll gladly take any suggestions. If you are a composer and have something to offer just say the word! (The concert isn’t until January, but we need to get the program in sooner.)

In Other News: we have switched our internet service provider and I’m pretty darn happy with the speed at which things now download. Nice! Next step (yeah, I’ve been saying this for far too long now) is to get this site moved. It’ll happen. Really.

**Well, now I know more about Harris. There must be two of ‘em, because this guy is an American composer, born in 1927. Nice. We could do this one! (The British Arthur Harris isn’t even a composer, actually. So never mind about him.)

29. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Announcements, imported


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DK!

Wishing one of the finest musicians I know a very wonderful year.

I do hope you have had a lovely day, and LET’S DO LUNCH!

Just say when … well, it has to work with my teaching schedule and all, of course … and we can have a nice yak and meal. Okay? :-)
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29. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Other People's Words

Read at someone’s blog:

Even stranger are instruments like the oboe. Who looked at the various wind instruments and thought, “Y’know, what we need is one that’s about six feet long with slides and keys everywhere; that’ll be practical!”

Now the “six feet long” tells me he is not really thinking of an oboe. I would have assumed bassoon (folks do confuse the two for some inexplicable reason) but what the heck does he mean by “slides”? One slide and I’d be thinking “trombone” (along with “This guy is clueless!”) but I’m perplexed.

Explain?
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29. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

David, over at mixed meters had me laughing while reading today’s blog entry. (By the way David, I can’t send you an email because of your spam blocker. Just so you know.)

Well, okay, I was laughing on the inside. It’s just far too early to vocalize.

Oh. Wait. I’m not a vocalist. I can vocalize any time I want.

But anyway, it’s funny. And I liked being mentioned because, truth be told, we all like to be noticed now and then.

And speaking of being noticed, Joyce DiDonato, of the fabulous Der Rosenkavalier has a blog, in addition to her professional site. Is that cool or what?

I had never had the opportunity to hear her before, and now that I have I will certainly want to hear her again. But when I can’t, I can just go over to that blog, eh?

Well okay, I should probably get some recordings too. That would be a smart thing to do!

AND … reading Mixed Meters brought me to a Metropolitan Opera oboist’s blog! Now she is just a bit (hah!) higher in the musical world than I, but she still loves baseball, even if it’s the Mets rather than my poor Giants. (Hey, the Giants didn’t lose yesterday at least. Yeah, they weren’t even playing, but still ….) But better the Mets than the Yankees!

So it looks like I have some new sites to put up and to, of course, visit.

Meanwhile … with Dan nearly done with school he will, I think, be getting to the transfer of this site. While it’s happening a lot might be missing, but I can deal. I’m brave that way.
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28. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, News

I just read that Beverly Sills is gravely ill. I didn’t know she had cancer earlier in her life, nor did I know she had it now.

Here she is 50. I am 50. I can’t sing. She can. Here she is in Traviata. This is fun, and this is mad. Danny Kaye and Beverly Sills. Una Voce Poco Fa. This says it’s her final performance, and this says she is age 7.
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Dan, Jameson and I went to Der Rosenkavalier last night. When music is so wonderful time doesn’t mean anything any more, I guess. I was mesmerized. (Confession time: I’ve never heard all of DR before. Sad, but true.) What an incredible opera … I’m so glad we were able to go! I know I can’t come close to describing it all.

So I won’t.

26. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Videos

I’m thinking of switching to a different instrument. Nothing beats the sound of an oboe, oboe d’amore or English horn, but still …

  • You don’t have to make oboe reeds.
  • However the instruments sound, they sound just fine.
  • They don’t cost a lot.
  • They are easy to find.
  • They are easy to replace.
  • They are colorful!
  • You can make a wonderful soup after the concert.

    Truly.
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  • 25. June 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, News


    Orchestra and audience alike were back in a comfort zone for the Brahms Symphony No. 2 after intermission, at least until the sound of a sobbing woman cut through the orchestra in the second movement. Welser-Möst kept conducting but looked out into the audience, no doubt wondering what could possibly be next.

    It’s really best to cry pianississimo!

    And believe it or not, this sobbing took place at the same May 24 concert I blogged about before, where the concert had to stop and start again.
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    Okay, so she is very, very cute. And she sings sweetly, although I could do without kiddo vibrato for some reason. (I’m not sure why, but when young children use vibrato it doesn’t sound right to me.) But she was not “pitch perfect”, which is what is said toward the end.

    No, I really don’t watch this show—it’s not even available here—but because someone linked to this I found it. And it is a sweet as can be, and sure, she could make me cry if I weren’t in a “mood” right now.

    Call me a curmudgeon. It’s okay.

    But anyway, what can you do with a adorable little six year old singing for this kind of show? Can you say, “Well, you are very cute and who knows, you might be a great singer some day, or you might not. You weren’t perfectly in tune, but for your age you were incredibly good” … can you say that? Even the wicked Simon couldn’t. But I still say he’s wrong about “pitch perfect”.

    Our son, Jameson, was nearly pitch perfect on the Queen of the Night aria, though, when he was about that age. Really. (Kelsey was singing in the opera, so he heard and saw the video over and over … he could simply nail all those notes. I could kill myself for not taping him. But he’d kill me now if I had!)

    And no, I’m really not being a stage mom. I’m picky about pitch. I really am. He was just that good. Honest and true. (I just pretended I wasn’t his mom and I still said, “He was that good.” ;-)