04. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

Sometimes we have to remind a conductor to make sure we are ready to go between movements. We have to swab, and this is especially important in pieces like Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin. My guess is that the conductor (Esa-Pekka Salonen) forgot to check in with the principal oboist at the Proms recently. The oboe has to begin the movement which starts a little after the 12:00 mark on the first link for Prom 23 which you can find here. A “do over” was quite necessary. Ouch!

This not only is embarrassing, but can really throw the oboist and that is one tough piece.

Sadly, this is one of my favorite works and I’m pretty darn unimpressed with the performance. It’s not all together. I’m not thrilled with some of the tempi (I think the first movement should be a wee bit faster although I don’t think it has to go as quickly as marked), there was at least one odd rubato moment, and some of the grace notes aren’t properly placed. And the tone of certain players … well … I’m picky. Shame on me!

I don’t normally critique … I should be ashamed of myself. :-(

04. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I’ve been negligent; I’m sorry to say I haven’t been posting audition notices as quickly as I should have. But I’ve just updated the page so you might want to check it out. If I’m missing any, please feel free to let me know!

I used to get a lot of information from myauditions.com but they no longer let people see auditions for free, so they are off my radar at this point. Ah well! This means I go by the union paper and online info, and otherwise merely word of mouth. (YOUR mouths—or written messages—are quite welcome.)

04. August 2007 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I believe that it is perfectly okay and even preferable to combine classical and popular music ON THE SAME PROGRAM.

-Jeffrey Reed

RTWT … and discuss?

It’s not so much that I’m opposed to mixing classical and popular. I’m opposed to mixing well written music with poorly written music.

But not only that. I just think programs have to make sense. Maybe what Maestro Green is talking about isn’t what immediately comes to my mind when I read his quote above. (My mind immediately worries that the programs will be titled with some witty titles. Perhaps like “Bach to the Future” or something, where we’ll hear a Bach work followed by music from the movie “Back to the Future”. I hope I’m wrong!)

I don’t do pops concerts any longer. Contrary to what some might think, they weren’t money makers. At least not for the groups I was in that tried to pull them off. But when I did pops concerts it was a rare piece of music that was quality. Well, aside from the Bernstein, Copland … you know … popular classical stuff.

Please know, though, that I like some popular music. I also like some hymns. I like Johnny Cash. Suzanne Vega. Beach Boys. (I could go on and on.) Do I want to go to hear, say, San Francisco Symphony play a symphony, Walk the Line, and For all the Saints on the same concert. Naw.

So I dunno. I don’t think I’d want to play a Prokofiev with one of the top 100 tunes out right now. But maybe I’m just clueless. I’ve been clueless many a time!

Wait! Yes, they are actually doing a Bach to the Future concert. Heh. How ’bout that?

04. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

Josh Ritter and Hilary Hahn.

The show at Cafe Campus marked Hahn’s debut as an improviser. Once a bedrock of the classical musician’s art, improvisation has all but disappeared as one of the skills in the classical musician’s arsenal. The mere thought of improvising in public can turn steely nerved classical superstars into jelly-fingered beginners.

“It was terrifying but exciting,” said Hahn. “I was really hoping to work with him because I knew I would learn a lot from him. I improvised to a couple of his songs, and it was the first time I had ever improvised onstage. It was great.”

She also played one of the most demanding pieces in the solo violin repertoire, an arrangement of Schubert’s song, “Erlkonig,” by 19th century virtuoso Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. The Cafe Campus clubgoers were impressed.

“Seeing the audience response — through the whole evening, to him, to ‘Erlkonig,’ to the music we played together — made me realize I wanted to do a lot more of it,” said Hahn. “It was just so musically gratifying.

RTWT

Thoughts?

(I love it … who says we can’t mix things up a bit?)

04. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

… will I still be playing? I’m guessing so, but a lot can change in 10 years. I hope that I will know if my playing isn’t good enough. I hope I quit before people start whispering about me. (Oh dear … maybe they already are?!)

Why think on this now? I just found this:

Demotion is included in several pay and conditions agreements. The case was brought by a oboe player who was given a lesser role in his orchestra on reaching the age of 60.

RTWT (And yes, this was in Holland.)

04. August 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

Any musician recognizes the music publisher Boosey & Hawkes. And now we can read about them too, as a book has come out telling tales. Here’s a quote to begin with:

Remember you are not in business for the sake of music; you are in music for the sake of business. (Ernst Roth, a managing director)

And then there’s this:

Hawkes also spotted the home-grown market potential of Benjamin Britten – much to the regret of Oxford University Press, whose main man, Herbert Foss, must have eaten the words he scrawled on an internal memo, suggesting dismissively of OUP’s young uncultivated star that “it may be worthwhile to let Boosey waste some money on him”. Hawkes saw equal opportunity in the confused cultural vacuum of post-war America, taking Britten’s advice to sign up the little-known Aaron Copland.

RTWT

I’m guessing the book is somewhat biased. It’s published by … can you guess? … Boosey & Hawkes.