31. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I apologize to any of you who have tried to comment and not had your comment posted; something is definitely awry, and I’m trying to “despam” comments as I find them, but I frequently receive a failure message when I do that. I’m not sure what it’s about, but we did just recently update this site so maybe there’s a glitch somewhere. I’m sure it’ll be fixed soon. I’m optimistic that way. ;-)

31. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra has received 226 applicants from all over the world for the position of music director and conductor to replace Amy Mills.

Jim Gallagher, chairman of the conductor search committee, said he is stunned by the overwhelming interest in the job.
“Everyone is flabbergasted by the quantity and quality of applicants,” Gallagher said. “We’re not sure what it means. This position is really a part-time job that pays in the range of $45,000 to $55,000.”

I didn’t even know there was a La Crosse Symphony Orchestra until now. (They have a very ugly site, don’t you think?)

Another roster to be added to my double reed musicians in US orchestra page*. Eventually. (Taxes are calling out to me. I’m trying to plug my ears, but I know I have to hop to it!)

*page since deleted (if you miss it, let me know!)

31. March 2008 · 1 comment · Categories: Ramble

… for the first time, no symphony violinists will carry on their instruments, on the chance that Delta could turn them away at the gate at CVG.

They are putting them in specially designed crates, so the article tells us later, because Delta is notorious for forbidding violins; they are just a bit too long for carry on rules. There was, as you can read below, a boycott for a while. (I never fly Delta anyway.)

The difficulties musicians have had with Delta while attempting to carry onboard their delicate and irreplaceable instruments caused the American Federation of Musicians to call for a boycott of the airline in 2006. Even though the union lifted the ban last April when Delta pledged to allow small instruments onboard, each flight crew may still decide what is allowed in the cabin.

So the flight crew gets to decide what goes on? Hmmm. Maybe they could also reject overly perfumed flyers and the ones who talk far too much? Ya think?

If I were a violinist I think I’d be so worried I’d probably not sleep for the entire flight. It’s not so much the damage that might occur (I’m assuming the orchestra packs those things incredibly well), but just letting go of such an expensive instrument and trusting I’ll see it at the end of the flight.

I’m betting the oboists all have their instruments with them.

No knives, though.

30. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

Part of me really wants this. The other part knows that it’s silly to want it. I’m guessing the former won’t win over the latter. In fact I’m sure it will. The last thing I need is more “stuff”. But still, I’d never seen an oboe playing doll before!

I found it here.

30. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links

They wear blue buttons that say, “Opera Is For Everyone.”

Who wears these buttons, you ask? 13 year old boys and girls. Really

30. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

Found here:

Q: I thoroughly enjoyed last nights “Dvorak & Rachmaninoff” program – kudos to all involved! I wondered why there were so many personnel changes in the woodwind section from one piece to another – it seemed like there was a revolving door for the flutes and clarinets. Thanks again for a memorable evening.

Well, first of all, thanks for coming, Gail! It’s definitely a fun program to play, and the audiences have been great all week. The reason for the wind and brass changes is twofold: first of all, the instrumentation is not exactly the same for all three pieces on the program. (For instance, there’s a saxophone in the Rachmaninoff, and there are differing numbers of winds involved in the two pieces on the first half.)

Secondly, it is traditional in most orchestras for principal wind players to divide up the duties on long programs, simply because there is a physical limit to the strength of the human lip, and if a principal flute, for instance, tried to play every single piece on every single program, s/he would likely do serious physical damage by the end of the season. Sometimes, a principal will play the entire program one week (as our principal oboist, Basil Reeve, is doing this week) and then not play at all the next week. Other times (as you saw with our flutes and clarinets,) the principal will sit out one of the pieces on the program, and be replaced by the assistant principal. The non-principal wind players may shift around as well, but since their parts tend not to be as physically taxing, they are more likely to play everything on the program.

This is why I’m playing Assistant Principal this week; Beethoven’s ninth is a killer for first oboe. (It’s actually a killer for second oboe as well. In the past we’ve doubled all the winds, but not now.)

But four concerts of B’s 9th in a row took its toll. (Update: Oops! Three. Today was our fourth. See what happened by reading my current blog entry.) Our principal oboist is now home, and sounds quite ill. So we are going to play musical chairs today. I’ll play principal in the Brahms. It’s a work I love but have never played before. I’ll probably remain on AP for the Beethoven, and our second oboist for this set will move to principal. Some might think I should switch over, but the second oboist has played principal at several performances in the past, and I’ve never done it. So we just thought that might be a better way to go. Someone new will come in (we hope!) to play second. (If we can’t find anyone I’ll move over, but we really, really need an AP for that piece. As I said, it’s a killer.)

Sometimes—many times, actually—I wish for the “days of yore” (the “olden days” … you know … “back in the day”) when there were three of us: principal oboe, second oboe, and (me!) English horn. I would play assistant at times, and move to other positions when necessary. It gave us a bit more “wiggle room”. I miss that. I’m glad, though, that we were allowed the extra player for AP this time, so there were three of us (and I do hope there will be three today!). I just think three on the roster would be much better at all times.

30. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Other People's Words
  • The Camera is Cool and the Oboe Obnoxious

  • I used to enjoy listening to classical music with a glass of wine and a ciggy.

  • Quite worried now. I don’t want to be the only oboe player left to be tortured by my tutor.

  • A moldy oboe is probably the most disgusting thing you’ll ever witness should you neglect your oboe’s daily maintenance.

  • And it’s not just classical music that suffers from the ‘little boxes synodrome’.

  • 30. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links

    Heppner and Voight finally managed to sing together.

    And of course the English horn solo by Pedro Diaz was … wait for it … haunting.

    So original, eh? But I guess … well … what can ya do? We are haunting. Or plaintive. It’s just the way we are. ;-)

    29. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

    I am just home from playing at a former SCU student’s wedding. It was a moving, worshipful, incredibly beautiful wedding, and I was quite moved. I may write more about that later. We’ll see. (Meanwhile, congratulations and lots of love to both Madeline and Richard!)

    But I’m pretty darn tired now. Dan & I drove straight to Sutter Creek from the concert last night, so I was away from home since 7:45 last night. (Sutter Creek is 2 hours 15 minutes away from here.)

    I didn’t even take the computer with me … nearly 24 hours without my MacBook, go figure! (While posts appeared this morning, they were planned ahead of time.) I went through withdrawal, but I survived … pretty much anyway.

    Now I must take a short rest: I have another Beethoven 9 concert tonight, and it’s very bad form to fall asleep on stage.

    Unless your a low brass player. ;-)

    29. March 2008 · 3 comments · Categories: Links

    … well, for musicians, anyway.

    This article is about David McGill, his new book, Sound in Motion, and includes a lot about Marcel Tabuteau and his numbering system.