you mean Bernstein’s “Mambo” from West Side Story can be fun?! Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra think so. (Scroll down and you’ll see the video. Please do watch it!)

Located via Deceptively Simple.

(For the next few days you can listen to the full concert by going here and looking for Prom 48.)

22. August 2007 · Comments Off on Musicians & Drugs · Categories: Links, Ramble

My, my, my. Some opera singers do drugs and have drinking problems. Now that is simply shocking! Musicians have never done drugs in the past. Right? And drinking problems? Of course not! And of course doctors and lawyers, construction workers and other folks out in the real working world never do drugs or have drinking problems.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Yes, musicians are people too. And it’s a stressful career. So yeah, some get caught up in drugs and alcohol.

Thank goodness baseball players don’t get into this stuff. Whew.

22. August 2007 · Comments Off on Keeping Quiet · Categories: Ramble

Douglas Sanford, the conductor of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, has launched a defamation lawsuit against several of his own players.

“They passed out some information that eventually went out across the country that had some things in there that are just absolutely untrue,” Sanford said Tuesday.


Sometimes we orchestra folk get annoyed with conductors. Sometimes it’s justified, and sometimes it’s not. But it’s very wise to keep one’s mouth shut unless it is absolutely vital to tell tales. And they’d better not only be true, but verifiable.

I know nothing about this conductor or his orchestra. Who knows where the truth lies. But it’s a good reminder to keep my mouth shut! (Or keep my fingers still.)

And shortly after I wrote this I got a most hostile (with lots of words in caps) comment from a post I wrote a while back. Even when I think I’m being nice (or funny) I manage to anger someone. Go figure. 🙁 (For once I’m not entirely stressed about the comment, though; the writer didn’t seem to really understand what I was saying, and while a name was given, it doesn’t appear to be real.)

22. August 2007 · Comments Off on Fine, Fine Writing ;-) · Categories: Ramble

From a blog (with no direct link—don’t want to actually single out the person):

The Turangalîla Symphony is unique among all the works of Messiaen in that it is the only one that doesn’t suck.¹ I tried to be generous in my overview of the 2006 Seattle Symphony season and described Messiaen’s L’Ascension as polarizing, reserving the possibility that somebody might actually like it. (Nobody in my group did.)

But Turangalîla is different somehow. Not only does it not suck, it’s actually pretty neat.

Well that explains it all, I’m sure. 😉

(Yeah, I’m just having fun here. I’m sure the blogger is a great guy and probably even has good reasons for not liking what he doesn’t like. But “suck” and “neat” don’t help explain why, really.)

I’ve never played any Messiaen. Not one thing. Maybe it needs to be played by younger folk? (I did spot a few gray haired ringers in the group, unless they just look prematurely old.) The video … oh dear … hopping back and forth rhythmically between the tuba and strings at one point was not only dizzying, but annoying. But it did make me laugh. Then, at about 5:05, they do the same thing between the Martinot and the flutes.

Anyone know if this work is scored for this size of an orchestra? I see 10 horns, I think, 7 trombones and 8 trumpets. I can spot 7 clarinets and at least as many in the flute section.

Pretty fine group of kiddos playing this thing, though! I’ve not heard San Francisco Youth Symphony in ages, but I know the other groups I’ve heard couldn’t tackle this piece.

If I’m remembering correctly Dan and I went to UCSC back in 1974 to hear Messiaen. (Dan, can you verify this?) I believe he played some piano works. Isn’t it pathetic that I’m not certain of the experience, though? Sigh. It was a long time ago … as if I can use that as an excuse. Double sigh.

22. August 2007 · 3 comments · Categories: Ramble

As for individual orchestra members, the oboist played with such beauty of tone, he may lose his card in the Oboists’ union. The hornist, however, will keep his card: he suffered a fumble or three.

Um. Explain? If the oboist plays well he shouldn’t be in the “Oboists’ union” (a non-existent group, of course). I just don’t get it. Because I’m slow that way.

The review begins here. It’s not my cuppa tea when it comes to writing style. Part of me wonders if our blogging style has infected the writer. I guess I expect something different—something well written maybe—when it comes to a review for a newspaper.

22. August 2007 · Comments Off on Double Reed Festival in Ohio · Categories: Announcements

I received this notice the other day:

The second annual Wright State University Double Reed Festival will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2008 on the campus of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. This year’s guest artists include Carol Aufman, former contrabassoonist with the Cincinnati Symphony and current principal bassoonist with the Richmond (Ind.) Symphony and bassoonist with the Cincinnati Ballet orchestra; Dr. Bruce Gbur, professor of bassoon and oboe at Kansas State University and owner of Prairie Dawg Press; and Carlos Coelho, oboe clinician, repair expert, and performer from Indianapolis. Vendors such as Fox, Miller Marketing, Mannerino’s Music, Crystal Records, Carlos E. Coelho Woodwinds, Prairie Dawg Press, and others will also be on hand for everyone to stock up on supplies and try the newest and latest in instruments and tools. Clinics and performances will take place throughout the day from 9am-5pm. High school and college double reed students are invited to attend along with adult amateur and private studio teachers from throughout the region. For more information on attending the event or on being a vendor at the festival contact Bill Jobert at William.Jobert [at] Wright [dot] edu or 513 594 3498.

22. August 2007 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

A bit over a week ago (or was it two?) Jameson was sick. He’s still recovering.

I just woke up and I’m feeling a bit odd. If I get what he had I’m going to be one very unhappy camper. I have places to go, people to see … and music to practice.


I just can’t get sick!