28. January 2008 · Comments Off on Maybe Not Us … · Categories: Announcements, San Francisco Symphony

Since we splurged and went for the entire San Francisco Opera 2008-2009 season, I’m thinking we’ll skip out on the offer by San Francisco Symphony, but it IS a great deal, so I’m going to recommend it to readers! 🙂

$25 or $55 at ticket? Great prices!

I just read the blog of a wind player who was subbing in an orchestra. The player names the orchestra as well as the works. So you know there are no secrets. That same horn player then admits playing a lot of the first piece down an octave because the new work was something he/she deemed not worth playing as written, since the composer wasn’t someone like, say, Mahler or Stravinsky.

All I can say is … yikes! The blog is public. Anyone can read it. Would you want to hire someone who basically said “I chose not to play what was written and that’s that!”? I know I’d be inclined to remove the player from the sub list.

Am I wrong to suggest that?

28. January 2008 · Comments Off on Foot(o)b(oe)all · Categories: See

I just love the picture here! Too. Darn. Cool.

I’d steal the picture and put it here, but I think that’s against the rules and, well, you know me and rules! 🙂

But a football player who knows about the oboe? Say what?!

And yes, you bet your life I’m going to watch the Superbowl. These past few years I’ve not been able to, due to opera. This year opera rehearsal is at 7:30 PM, and I think I’ll get in a good amount, if not all (?), of the game. It used to be a family tradition; we’d all sit around and yak through the game, but silence was required during commercials. Yeah, we are silly that way.

The misshapen Schumann Piano Concerto started its life as a stand-alone Fantasy that morphed into a long first movement, the composer then adding two small closing sections to flesh it out. The work has an unusually quirky performance history. In one of the first concert hall performances of the work, the solo oboist made a glaring mistake in the statement of its opening theme. The pianist, none other than Johannes Brahms, duplicated the error in his repetition of the melody so as not to embarrass the man. (Found here)

Now if I made a glaring mistake and the soloist did the same thing I wouldn’t think the soloist was saving me from embarrassment! How ’bout you? (It might make me laugh, though.)

I’ve been known to do this same thing with students on occasion. Sometimes they get it. Sometimes they don’t. It’s all in good fun … but I wouldn’t do it at a performance!

28. January 2008 · Comments Off on Join in the Fun … ? · Categories: Ramble


So if anyone is interested in registering do feel free! Please remember I want a name on that form; sometimes spambots try to register and if I see what looks to be a real name I can assume the registrant is real. Then you can join in conversations … tell me I’m goofy … tell me I’m wrong (in your oh-so-gentle way … I’m an oboe player remember?!) … fill me in on who is playing where, double reed days, auditions … you name it!

Oh … and don’t forget that I have a page that features Double Reed Instructors in the USA! So far the list is rather small. I know there are more of you out there.

28. January 2008 · Comments Off on “e” is ovrratd, don’t you think? · Categories: Havin' Fun

Anyway, in som countris I think it is splld “obo”.

Patricia Prunty, associate professor of music, decided to throw out her obo and focus on what makes her heart really skip a beat-singing.

(and later)

After realizing the perfect dynamic the group had, Prunty decided it was best to focus on singing, rather than also playing piano, the obo and the guitar.
(and later still)

I played piano. I used to play the obo, but eventually that had to bite the dust because I became more focused on singing,” Prunty said.

Found hr*, in Cal Stat Fullrton’s nwspapr.

Okay. ’nuff fun.

*article no longer available

28. January 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

If we want thousands to hear us in the huge auditoriums of our concert halls and opera houses we simply have to make a lot of noise.

-Gustav Mahler (read in The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross)

27. January 2008 · Comments Off on Auditions · Categories: Ramble

I’ve been on both sides of the screen when it comes to auditions. I’ve sat on the panel, and I’ve escorted auditionees to that horrible screen a good number of times. In both cases I have been a bit nauseous; there’s something about auditions … even though I wasn’t even auditioning I’d get that awful anxious feeling, and even knowing we made the correct decision about who we chose, I always hurt for the number we had to turn away. If someone had a particularly bad audition, I just ached for the individual. We’ve always had our bad days. Really.

I was fairly surprised to read a rather revealing post about a trumpet audition up in Canada. Some readers might find it informative, so I’m putting the link here.

Biggest “take heed” … or, okay … “take heeds” I can offer?: Know your music inside out. Study not only your part, but know what’s going on around you as well. Hear those other parts as you practice. Play for a few people you trust, and make it an uncomfortable situation, as it will be when you do the real thing. (I helped someone out with this some time ago, and I had her behind a screen, to simulate that cold and impersonal situation. As an aside, this was not an audition I was then participating in in any way; I won’t hear someone for any orchestra of which I am a member.) If it’s an opera audition, please know what the singers are doing; it’s not all about you, you know?

I never blog about the auditions in which I’m involved, other than announcing a winner on occasion. I won’t write about what I hear until … well … it would have be be years later. For instance, I feel fairly comfortable, as it’s been over 15 years and the orchestra no longer exists, writing about an audition where a player (not an oboist, btw) played a Beethoven excerpt and throughout played a painfully obvious wrong note. Over. And over. (It was a passage with a lot of arpeggios.) The player hadn’t a clue he/she had done that, and I couldn’t believe anyone wouldn’t know such a famous excerpt. I won’t write about this kind of thing again, though (although I believe that one was safe to mention). I think, in fact, our local union or players’ committee would probably call me on the carpet if I did blog about current or recently past auditions.

No, we are not “San Jose Philharmonic”! Oops.

I’m SO glad I don’t do the drives these musicians do. I couldn’t bear it!

I’m with Karla; I don’t want to commute with other musicians if I can avoid it. And since I live 7 minutes away from work I can get away with driving alone, except when I get extra jobs that are further away. When I’m driving a distance then I do want to commute with others so I’m not the only one in trouble if we are late. (So far I’ve only been late to, I think, one gig, and that was a 10 minute drive from my house … but it was Cinco de Mayo and the route I had been instructed to take was horrible. I was, I think, 30 minutes late! So were others. Whew!)

Okay … it’s over. And I’m just … oh dear … I’m nearly weepy. I’m not sure why. Is it because the film kind of nails this life (even mine, without quite so much driving)? Is it just the MUSIC? (New World Symphony does get to me.) Is it seeing people I admire there, and watching Karla deal with her injury? (I hadn’t even heard about that, btw. I had blogged about her stolen instrument, but the injury was news to me.)

I have to say that it felt pretty darn spot on with the feelings we have of the joy of music, the frustrations, the wondering if we’ll ever “make it” (I’ve decided I’ve “made it” to where I’m happy to be, but I know that some have higher aspirations, and knowing the musicians they featured I do believe they could reach their goals. They are fabulous!) … well … it really covered it all, you know?

All I would have liked was a “where are they now?” thing just for fun. Even though I mostly know where they are. 🙂

Someone in a discussion group was asking for a recording of the Hindemith Oboe Sonata.
Here’s a bit of the conversation (with a few things that might identify the people X’d out):

Person #1: Would somebody happen to have a recording of the Hindemith sonata for oboe an piano? I’m supposed to perform this piece in a few months and would like to hear it being played by someone else than my teacher :). Me being credit card-less and living in a smallish city in XX narrows down the alternatives. This Hindemith plays hard to get. So, I’d be very happy and also willing to fulfill requests of the same kind, if some beautiful soul were to upload this piece.

Person #2: I can upload a copy. Would you mind Xlocking this entry?

Person #1: Thanks :D!

Person #2: No problem, just don’t want the fact that I’m violating copyright made public. 😀 Here you go.
(link removed)
John Mack, oboe
Eunice Podis, piano

Someone is posting this and assuming it won’t be seen? Silly person. Google sent me the link. I just joined. Anyone can join. Anyone can read this person admitting to doing something that could get him/her in trouble.

No matter what any of us think about the whole copyright thing, admitting you are breaking a law online seems just a tad foolish to me.

Ya think?

So here’s a little reminder, once again: what you write online can be seen by a whole heck of a lot more folks than you might think. If you write something, just make the assumption it’s on a “worldwide billboard” … and you might reconsider what you post. (Believe me, I’ve had to remove some dumb things I’ve written!) And if you are going to break a law, you might reconsider admitting it in print!