09. March 2009 · Comments Off on Instrument Horror Stories · Categories: Links, Ramble

Bruce, over at Horndog, has a Monday blog entry that not only the links to the, as it turned out, drunk horn player (see yesterday’s video), but to an instrument horror story Julia Rose tells us about. And it’s her very own instrument, too.

Ah, the horror stories. I believe nearly everyone has them. Some are big, some are huge.

Mine? I can’t think of any that are horrendous. I remember turning a few screws a few days prior to a recital (and I knew nothing about adjusting an instrument. What was I thinking?!), and having to quickly take it in for rescue. But that was just my stupidity, since the act actually was deliberate. Falling on, sitting on, or dropping an instrument is another story all together.

Oh … and speaking of deliberate (or not!) … I remember something going awry at a concert. My Bs came out as B flats. (Sticky key.) After the solo, the EH was passed over to our principal oboist who quickly fixed the issue. I was 19 or so at the time, and pretty freaked out. Sadly, a local conductor thought I had deliberately played the B flat; a colleague who was taking a conducting class from her told me about the next class he had, where she mentioned an “English horn player deliberately playing a wrong note throughout a solo”. Geesh! Since when would someone deliberately play a wrong note in a solo? Now that was pretty crummy — both the malfunctioning instrument and the conductor deciding I was that awful of a person. (It was a contemporary piece, though — Lou Harrison, actually — and some audience members didn’t even have a clue.)

I also recall a really horrible awful no good instrument horror story from high school. A lot of us carpooled to “solo ensemble festival”. We pulled into a parking space right next to another car of our classmates. A sax player (gee, I ever remember his name, although I’ve not seen him since 1974: Paul Caltigirone), while laughing somewhat hysterically, motioned for us to stop, saying, “My saxophone is there!” pointing to the parking space. But he was laughing. Hard. How were we to know he was serious?

Fortunately I wasn’t driving. (I remember the driver, too, but I’ll keep him nameless.) Fortunately someone else loaned him a sax and when you’re young and easy going (he was definitely an easy going sax player, not an oboist!) a different instrument isn’t that big of a deal. Fortunately he was extremely gracious to the driver. Fortunately he still received his blue ribbon (if I’m remembering correctly).

Mostly … and this is for you, Dave Camwell … fortunately it was a sax. 😉

Tee hee.

Now REED horror stories? Yep. I’ve got ’em. Sigh.

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