It’s a TOP TEN! (Should I be embarrassed that I don’t know any of the other titles? Hmmm.) But hoorah for Alex Ross. He’s on the top ten list. I guess it’s a good one to be reading, eh? I can tell you I’m loving the book.

So read it! Really.

You can listen to a podcast at Amazon as well. I’m doing that at this very moment. (Which means it’s time to stop writing here!)

30. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I appears that Nordstrom is not going to continue with their live pianist thing. (Dan said something about dead pianists … I don’t think Nordstrom is going there, either.) Geez. The world will never be the same.

Oh. Wait. I can’t afford most of what Nordstrom has to offer. I’m rarely there.

But really, the news doesn’t have me reeling. I have to confess that in some ways I was often embarrassed by the players. Either they played schlocky stuff (how many times does one want to hear “Music of the Night”?) or I thought, “What a sad gig to have if you are a serious player.” Or it was just noise.

And for the performer? People are not really listening. They wander by. They don’t hear the whole piece. I would just be sad to have to do something like that.

(And now I’m sure to receive some hate mail; it seems I can’t “blog safe” with my big mouth … or feisty fingers. Sorry! But I yam what I yam.)

Mostly, I’d appreciate it if stores would offer up silence. I am so tired of noise. Or music I don’t like. Music I didn’t choose. At a volume I can’t stand.

Call me grumpy.

Oh … I think I need to go shopping now. And now I see a kimono jacket and skirt I really love. At Nordstrom.

But since there are no pianists there I guess I’ll skip it.

BRILLIANT IDEA! (If I dare say that about my very own lightbulb moment):
Why don’t stores offer shoppers headphones if they want the music? Wireless headphones. Connected to whatever music they want to inflict on those who like to be inflicted? Those of us who prefer not to have to hear it (do you know how hearing anything from The Nutcracker wants to make a ballet orchestra member run from the store screaming?!) would remain ignorant. But happy.

29. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Quotes

Guitars are cool. They just are. It’s relatively easy to learn enough to play a Ramones song, and it’s easier to look cool holding one in the bathroom mirror than it is holding an oboe.

-Kurt Gottschalk

29. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Links

I’ve had my fair share of disagreements with colleagues. Some musicians—just like the rest of the world!—are difficult people. And we are all, it seems, quite sensitive. Go figure.

Would I ever talk about who I struggle with, and who I wouldn’t mind seeing go far, far away? Of course not! We are one big, happy, dysfunctional family, after all. ;-)

But read this. It’s just kind of interesting. And kind of funny to read in places.

This made me laugh:

Some probably consider themselves superior to others. I suspect several of the solo woodwind players sitting in the middle of the orchestra and having small soli and being heard all the time…I suppose they feel they have a special status within the orchestra…and that causes some problems because they get away with things others don’t – like small-talk during rehearsals etc. And if you are a really good musician, then it’s difficult to do something about, because the orchestra on the other hand really needs someone to play these soli really well.

But … but … but … solo woodwind players ARE superior! … right? ;-)

29. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

… at least according to this article.

Or maybe he’s not really, since it was an “IF/THEN” kind of thing … IF he is the master, then this other guy is his apprentice. Hmmm.

I’ve never heard of Tony Ward, but now I’m quite curious about his oboes. Anyone know about him? (Ben, are you out there? He’s from your neck ‘o the woods! Well, if all of Australia is one neck, which I suppose is doubtful.)

Anyway, a new name to me. Anyone else?

29. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble, Videos, Watch

I absolutely love “No Word From Tom” and “Quietly Night” from The Rakes Progress. Well … truth be told … I love the entire opera. But Anne Truelove’s opening numbers are just wonderful, and I’m yearning to play this opera again after hearing it last night at San Francisco Opera.

Today I’m just doing some YouTube browsing and enjoying the music once more. I first listened to Dawn Upshaw’s performance. But then I landed here, and was listening to Isabel Rey. If you listen in to about 2:48 you hear … drum roll please … the lovely dulcet sounds of the Nokia cell phone ring.

Sigh.

Really now!

Last night’s performance was wonderful, although Dan and I have decided that sitting in the balcony is just not gonna happen any more; the productions are clearly not set up so that the cheap (hah!) seats can see everything. Much was lost. I’m so glad we saw the final dress so we knew what was going on on that back, unseen-from-the-balcony, screen. You couldn’t even see the movie marquee from where we were. Not at all! Forget the moving car scene and the rolling clouds (and more) in the background. Too bad.

Couple of “BUTs …”. I really didn’t like the final “outfit” of Nick Shadow. It looked more birdlike than anything fiery. He just looked goofy as he descended into hell. At least to me. I think Baba’s beard could have been a bit more visible. Just my little opinions of course!

I won’t mention the two young women sitting to my left who were rather noisy, making comments on the opera as it progressed. No. I won’t mention them. Because I am supposed to be happy to see these fresh young (noisy) faces in the audience. Aren’t you pleased that I’m not even bringing them up at all?

And I won’t mention that the audience applauded loudly so that everyone missed Tom’s spoken line “I wish I had money!’ prior to the first appearance of Nick Shadow. That was too bad, to me at least.

And why the heck didn’t they correct the errors with the super titles? Do they need a proofreader? Heck, I’d go do it for free if they’d let me in to a rehearsal or two. Surely those are easy to fix? I hereby offer my services! ;-)

I did find that the singers were sometimes difficult to hear (mostly Anne Truelove, actually). I don’t believe the orchestra was too loud … just that some voices were a wee bit small at times. But Tom Rakewell (William Burden) was wonderful.

If you go to the San Francisco Opera page on Rake’s be sure and click on the clip. You can at least get a brief glimpse at the production. (Or just click on this for a direct link to the clip.)

28. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Listen, Videos, Watch

BACH – BWV 1060

I – Allegro
II – Largo
III – Allegro

And yes, she has that bunchy chin I don’t want my students to have. But the thing is, her reeds are not, I’m certain, like our longer scrape reeds. So don’t be saying you can have that bunchy chin! And don’t be saying she shouldn’t, either. I’m guessing the short scrape reeds take a very different embouchure. (Some day I’d love to try one and see what they are like!)

I also must acknowledge that not all of my colleagues here in the states agree that we shouldn’t have bunchy (“orange peel”) chin. So there’s that, too.

Beautiful music!

28. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

Okay, okay, “Für Elise” is a “yes” when it comes to classical music. But according to Microsoft “It’s a Small World” is classical as well. Go figure.

Found here.

How kind of them to use Beethoven or “that other piece that will never leave your head” as a warning, eh?

Danger! Danger! Classical music is playing!

28. November 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Links

Huh? Who says THAT? Not I!

So if anyone out there is getting married, Stuart Weitzman Oboe Bridal Shoes can be found and you know you want them.

Funny thing, though … as Kelsey pointed out, they don’t look at all like oboes.

Jason Heath has blogged about a new brass player’s website called Brass Tax.

The new blogger has a blog entry about all those folks who say, “I played [name your instrument]” kind of thing, and how one responds to that statement. I’ve gotten that too, at church, in the pit (from folks who hang over the pit and want to yak, which can be fun sometimes. On good reed days.) and from people who are walking outside the hall when I’m leaving. I used to ask all sorts of questions like, “Oh really? What kind of oboe did you have?” or “Where did you play?” I finally realized that was silly, since most would tell me it was in junior high or, if I was lucky, high school. Sometimes I, with my sarcastic heart, want to say, “I used to have a doctor’s kit when I was in elementary school!” if the person is a doctor. Or find something similar to say to someone in another profession. But I do know when to hold my tongue. And I realize, too, that they are just trying to make a connection. They aren’t being stupid. Really. (That’s left up to me!) But in what other field would someone say a similar thing?

Okay. Enough of my silliness! Sometimes (always?) I’m such a snob. :-(

Last night I heard the UCSC Woodwind Quintet perform. I coach them, and they are a real joy to work with. This was their first performance, and I hope they have many, many more! Bravi tutti to Daniela, Becky, Max, Sylvia and Kevin! :-)