We had two rehearsals today for A Midsummer Night’s Dream ballet which opens Thursday. In between I went to Cafe Trieste and had a small bowl of mushroom soup (quite yummy), and later a cookie and coffee. I needed to be alone; I’m not feeling great, I don’t want to get anyone sick, and I just needed the solitude.

Tomorrow night is our first (and only) rehearsal with dancers before opening on Thursday. We have an extra 30 minutes of rehearsal, so I know I’m going to be a zombie by Thursday. On Thursday I have more work before opening night.

It’s a very busy week, and of course I’ve managed to catch some sort of bug. I thought I was going to beat it easily, but tonight is suggesting otherwise. So tomorrow, until I teach in the afternoon, I’m going to have to take it very easy.

Oh … and a little “funny” for you. When Pam gave the A I immediately fingered an E, although I did catch myself before playing it! Having played English horn all last week, and having barely touched the oboe (although I did assist after my solos were over) my brain was still in EnglishHornLand™. (For those of you who don’t know: the EH is in the key of F, so when an A is given I have to play a fifth above to match the pitch.)

31. March 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: BQOD

Everyone knows that you should have more than one playable reed. I’ve been a slacker since the “Miracle Reed” lasted me about a year. How I managed to have a reed that not only played decently for a year but didn’t have an accident either I’ll never know.

Either way…my good reed cracked right before the concert. I had exposed sections. My oboe self-esteem is still fragile. I tried to get something else working quickly…it just wasn’t meant to be.

No. Comment. (But my students will know what I’m thinking, I’m sure!)

31. March 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

I played the oboe all through high school. They’re pretty!

31. March 2009 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes


I would say there is often an emotional distance in Ravel, but this piece goes deep down, especially in the slow movement. This is Ravel that goes beyond the merely beautiful; I find it one of the most emotionally involving of his pieces. And what is most interesting is the ever-changing sense of harmony. The colors shift all the time. And the music is rhythmically subtle; it demands a great deal of precision. That long, slow melody in the second movement, for example, is misleading in its simplicity — one step in the wrong direction, just as in Mozart, and you are lost.

The real problem, is in the section where the English Horn solo goes on and on, and the pianist has to play the accompaniment. Every pianist who performs the Ravel Concerto will confess to you that it is hard not to lose your place in that section. This is something one should never say, of course, because then the audience will become aware of the difficulty and look for a mistake.

But there are also other challenges: things I would love to be able to do in this work. I would like to be able to execute a glissando, for example, so that it sounds as if it were being played by a trumpet. If you can conjure that in the piano line, you have accomplished something!

-Mitsuko Uchida

I read it here.

(We’ll be doing the Ravel Piano Concerto for our opening weekend in Symphony Silicon Valley next season. I love the English horn solo!)

30. March 2009 · Comments Off on I’m Just Sayin’ · Categories: Ramble

Blogs that have tons of advertising really bug me. I prefer the more subtle blogs where the ads don’t yell at me.

Okay. That is all. :-)

30. March 2009 · Comments Off on When Is A Blog A Blog? · Categories: Links, Ramble

… and when is it not?

What is the definition of a blog anyway?

I ask this because I just landed on Anne Midgette’s blog. (It’s good, so check it out!) But it’s part of the Washington Post. And when a blog is connected to a business it feels like a blog but also feels like … I dunno … a business blog maybe?

I’m probably not making any sense here. But, to me, a blog is a personal thing that is run by an individual (or group of individuals) with no connected to a business that may or may not keep the blogger(s) in line.

And yet a lot of organizations are now starting blogs. so clearly I’m wrong. I’ve compiled a list of performing groups that now have blogs. I plan on blogging about that soon, and putting the entire list up here. But once blogs are connected to the Big Employer they seem … well … different somehow.

I’m in control of my blog. Completely. No one tells me what to write. No one takes anything down except yours truly. Not that I don’t leave some things off of here. Oh the stories I could tell! The people I could damage. The careers I could kill.

Okay, maybe I don’t have that much power, but I really could post some dark ugly secrets here … but I won’t. I’m at least that smart.

Anyway, maybe we need two names for these things: PersonalBlogs (PB™ for short) and Business Blogs (BB™).

30. March 2009 · Comments Off on BQOD · Categories: BQOD

I came to Santa Cruz expecting sun, ancient hippies, relaxed attitudes, and books, but not a symphony orchestra, so I was delighted to find that the Santa Cruz County Symphony was playing Carl Nielsen’s Second Symphony, subtitled the “Four Temperaments.”

I read it here.

Bare feet? Ah, Santa Cruz people. Ya gotta love ’em. Sort of.

30. March 2009 · Comments Off on Funny, That. · Categories: Ballet, Ramble

Yes, I’m going through withdrawal today. I’m at that “I’m sorry it’s over” state that I get to enjoy only because it’s over. Funny how that works.

Tomorrow it’s back to music, and it’s all Mendessohn this week. I’m hoping it’ll be a fun little run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I wasn’t sure if I played it the last time, since we used to be a three oboist orchestra, with me on the English horn chair, but I see my marks in the music so there you go. Funny what I forget!

I’ll be teaching later today, and I’ll also be going through the Mendelssohn, as I do need to practice it a bit. Time to move from English horn back to oboe! Funny how different the reeds will feel after playing on the heftier EH reeds.

But now? It’s nap time. I have a sore throat and I really can’t afford to get sick. Getting sick would definitely not be funny.

30. March 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

oboe is the new cowbell

FYI

30. March 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Videos